October 28th
Ghost Story
by kailee ayyar

The hot chocolate should have tipped me off---we were on a first date at 6pm, and he ordered a hot chocolate with Baileys. I had a cocktail from the menu they handed me because I'm a human being.

I was new to this online dating thing but I was pretty sure drinking hot chocolate in the early evening at a bar was a textbook red flag.

I went on the date because I was bored with my life and his answers on his Hinge profile seemed unassuming enough:

His last meal would be steak and eggs.
The most spontaneous thing he had done was go to a movie at midnight one time.
His two truths and a lie: I love maroon five, I'm one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap, and I'm dead.

I mean--he was boring and not funny but WHATEVER.

His pictures were pretty cute and all on old-timey film and stuff. After a few messages, he suggested a place right by my office so I figured I could get at least get a free cocktail out of it and be home by 9.

But, the hot chocolate thing aside----this guy was creeping me out. His skin had this weird gray undertone to it and he kept staring at me like he was about to cry. Our banter wasn't great. It was a tenuous first date, at best.I tried to nonchalantly glance at the time on my phone without him noticing but he noticed. He got the check and we put on our coats and headed towards the subway.

"So.....what are you doing this weekend?" I asked, in an effort to be polite.

He smiled wearily. "Listen....I have to go now but I came across your profile and I just wanted to meet you in person to say--even if our spirits can't meet in this realm, you're beautiful."

He kissed me on the cheek and glided out of sight down the street. I suddenly had inexplicable goosebumps. Maybe this dude was worth a second date after all. I texted him when I got home but all of the texts were green and undeliverable. I asked him "WTF" on the Hinge app but there was no record of his profile. Finally, I googled him.

And I found...an obituary. He had died in 1982 in a freak accident.

I was kind of relieved. It's hard to be vulnerable with someone new and I never could've dated someone who didn't like cilantro anyway.

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