Dan and Julia's first date

Modern day

They found each other through an app. One of many. One of many apps and one of many people they’d found.

They’d learnt not to have any expectations. They’d learnt not to invest themselves emotionally. Just show up and see what happens. They ignore the stakes. They ignore that they’re hoping that one day they’ll find someone. They find someone who isn’t put off by how they present yourself and wants to get to know them.

This seems impossible. Satisfying a checklist that they’re aware of but don’t know the criteria. They could worry and guess what would make them most likeable. Or they can let go and be themselves. This feels scary, especially when the person across from them is hot and interesting. They’ll do whatever it takes to impress them. That rarely works out well. Pretend they aren’t that interested. That rarely work out well either.

Sometimes there’s magic and they meet someone who isn’t going through the usual conversion topics. Instead something releases and both of them are freely themselves. Each sharing without judging themselves based on some mutual trust that started building the moment they met.

Laughing through the topics as they flow by. One topic connecting to the next in a single timeless moment. One coffee, then another.

Time passes and then it’s running out. This has been really fun and easy but they don’t want to seem too keen. They play a little game of pretending like it doesn’t matter that much. Just in case. They’ll wait and see what happens in messages later.

They doubt that this was real, or at least the other feels the same way. They both think they other is amazing. Because they were so amazing there’s the insecurity they were just a blip in the other’s journey, another face quickly forgotten.

Both Dan and Julia felt exactly the same. The joy and the doubt. The longing and the hope. Olivia messages first when she’s on her way home. She says it was great to meet Dan and she’d love to see him again. Dan replied quickly suggesting tomorrow for the next date. Tomorrow is sooner than anyone would recommend. Olivia understands what Dan is signalling. She smiles and accepts.