The breathing helps, slowly in and out, which is good because I’m pretty sure what I want out of this evening is not to vomit into my half-finished bowl of crab bisque. I look down at my hands and realize I’m squeezing them, one clasped around a spoon, one choking the life out of a crust of buttered baguette. You’re telling a story about work. I’ve got butter all over my fingers. I lift them to my mouth without a second’s thought until I notice you watching me. I change directions and slide them through my hair in what I hope approximates a confident, casual grooming gesture. This is not how I wanted this to go down. In my mind I was perfection, a vision of lithe coolness as I slid the key across the table to you, casually inviting you up to my room. In my mind you were all too eager to go, drawn to me like a magnet’s pole, dying to touch your midsection with my midsection, complete. In my mind your warm hand covered mine and you took the card key as your eyes burned a message into my retinas composed of a thousand ways to say yes yes, more please. But now your eyes are the coldest stone, your mouth pulled into a thin line, extinguished. Now I’ve got butter in my hair and the crab bisque is churning into jelly in my stomach. The key feels like a hammer in my pocket, so much heavy potential if only someone would wield it. I can already tell it won’t be me.