Fuck blind dates. Last night was the actual worst.
Let’s back up. The main reason I agreed to this was because I owed my sister a favor. Two days ago she cornered me in my bedroom and told me about her friend Martha. She is a year younger than me, was feeling super bummed because her last boyfriend just flat out ghosted her, and she is super nice.
It was either I go on this date with a girl I didn’t know or pay my sister two hundred bucks. Out of the two, I’m picking the date.
Martha and I chose to meet at a local pub. The moment I got there and saw here I knew this was going to freaking suck.
I’m a little superficial, but we all are when we date. We all have types. Martha… was really not my type. Calf length khaki skirt, itchy olive green sweater, cat eye glasses, hair done in two braids, she looked like a librarian. A very boring librarian. My type is a bit more flashy, a bit more fun.
I of course still sat across from her, introduced myself. Maybe the boring librarian aesthetic hid someone who secretly went caving on the weekends and loved sky diving.
This book you absolutely could judge by its cover, and this book was a fucking Webster’s Dictionary. Every sentence that came out of Martha’s mouth was in a monotone, and she had practically no life. She went to school, she came home, she studied, she played with her cats (she has four- Aileen, Jane, Amelia, and Nannie), and she read nonfiction novels. She didn’t even have a TV. You’d expect a geeky looking girl like this to at least marathon The Witcher or The Mandalorian over a few weekends.
I was starting to sympathize with the ghosting boyfriend when I decided to give myself a break by offering to go up to the bar and get us something to drink. She asked for a soda. I was going to get something a little harder for myself.
As I stood at the bar, I heard someone clear her throat next to me.
I glanced up and saw another woman, dark haired with the most dazzling amber eyes I’d seen on a human being, the color of a glass of whiskey. She laughed and offered me her hand. “I’ve seen that face a lot. Made it too. I’m Tanya.”
“David.” I shook her hand. “It’s a blind date.”
Tanya grimaced and nodded. “Oooh. Say no more, I feel your pain,” She said, giving me a pat on the shoulder.
“It’s not that she isn’t nice, she’s just not my type.” I took a deep breath. “I’m probably going to split as soon as dinner’s done, tell her it’s not working out.”
Tanya laughed. “That’s fair, but my advice? Better make clear pretty quick this will not lead to something more. Don’t wanna hurt her feelings, you know?” She said.
I nodded before scooping up our drinks. “If you’re still here after she leaves, buy you a drink?” I offered.
Tanya winked. “We’ll see,” She sing songed.
I weaved my way back to the table. I just barely sat down when Martha blurted out, “You like her, don’t you?” It was the first time all night she actually had emotion in her voice, and it was not good.
Shit. I glanced over at Tanya, who was chatting with a few of her girl friends now. “We just chatted for a second,” I said.
Martha took a deep breath, taking off her glasses to clean them off on her sweater. “That’s not a no,” She mumbled.
Now I was feeling like an asshole. And yeah, I probably deserved to. I shifted uncomfortably in my chair and decided to just be honest. “Listen, you’re great-”
“But I’m not your type,” Martha interrupted, a bitter sounding laugh leaving her a second after. “I know. I fucking know, David. I’m going to the bathroom. Leave me alone.”
She shot up and stormed to the bathroom, a tear trickling down the side of her face. I shrunk down in my chair, definitely feeling like an asshole. Here was this perfectly nice girl, maybe a bit socially awkward, but nice. And here I was, hitting on other girls while I was on a date with her. Wow. Crown me king of the assholes, because that was a low move.
I spent the next several minutes planning my apology, imagining poor Martha sobbing her eyes out in the bathroom. I did her wrong and I had to make it right.
About fifteen minutes passed before I decided to go after her. I was getting worried, maybe she was really upset and needed to be driven home.
Just a bit of context, the doors to the bathroom at this pub were known for being a little loosey-goosey on their hinges. Meaning I just reached up to knock and I accidentally pushed the door open.
It was like time stopped when I looked inside.
Martha was standing at the sinks. She wasn’t crying anymore, she looked… calm. Disturbingly calm, for someone whose hand had apparently melted over another woman’s face. This other woman had dropped to her knees in front of Martha, her whole body limp and only held up by the melted skin grip that Martha had on her. The woman’s skin was turning black down to her neck and I swear I saw it inch down in that second the door was open.
It took until the door closed until I realized I recognized that woman’s dress. Tanya. That was Tanya.
I did something potentially dumb, in that I just headed back to my table and sat down, texting my sister to pick me up, because I assumed I’d been drugged. There was no way I saw what I just did, right? That’s not even possible.
Another minute ticked by as I stared at my phone, waiting for my sister to fucking answer me, which ended me nearly jumping out of my skin when Martha plopped down in the chair across from me.
“Hi, sorry I took so long,” Martha smiled, “I think we need to start from scratch.”
I glanced over at the bathroom. “Something happen in there?” I asked.
“Maybe,” Martha laughed, the first time I’d heard her laugh all night and it gave me fucking chills. The only thing I could pick out as different so far was that she’d taken her hair out of her braids, the wavy length coming down past her shoulders.
I swallowed before glancing out the door. “Listen, I’m actually not feeling well- and no, I’m not trying to ditch you, I swear to god- I think someone slipped something in my drink or I’m getting sick, so I’m trying to get ahold my sister to take me home,” I said.
“Oh, you poor thing!” Martha reached across the table and rested her cool fingers on my forehead. “I think you are feeling a bit warm. Tell your sister not to bother, I’ll just drive you.”
What was I supposed to say? ‘No thanks, I’ll just wait for someone who doesn’t have melty hands?’ Yeah, I had to let her drive me home. I’d make plans to pick up my car in the morning, when I didn’t feel like I’d been slipped LSD.
Martha handed me a sealed water bottle once I was settled in the passenger seat. “Drink this, nice and slow. What’s your address again?”
After taking a sip I told her and then glanced at the dashboard, where a book was resting. I picked it up and read the title aloud. “Invisible Darkness?”
“Yeah, a friend gave it to me,” Martha said as we drove out of the parking lot, “You remember when I said I liked nonfiction? Don’t assume I’m crazy or anything, but I actually really like true crime novels.”
“I wouldn’t think you’re crazy for that,” I went back to thinking about Tanya kneeling on the floor in the bathroom, “Lots of people like those. What got you into them?”
Martha bit her bottom lip before glancing over at me. “Well, I picked it up along the way from someone I knew. Sorry for the nothing answer, I mean, isn’t that how that always works? Most people are just pieces and parts of everyone they know, if you think about it.”
It was then it hit me what was suddenly very different about Martha. You remember the glasses I talked about, right? They were gone. And instead of cornflower blue eyes that I did find kinda pretty… her eyes were amber. The color of a glass of whiskey.
Just like Tanya’s.
By the time I was dropped off, Martha looked even less like herself and looked more like Tanya. Ever time I’d glance over, she was just a little different. Her cheekbones a little sharper, her lips a little fuller, her figure a little more hour glass shaped. I couldn’t get into my apartment fast enough.
I don’t know what I saw last night and I’m not sure if I want to know. But Martha’s texted me, saying that we should try again this weekend. She says this time she’ll pick me up since she knows where I live now.
I’m so fucking afraid of what she’ll take from me if I turn her down.