Lareign Ward


Hey there, Jerry. Thanks for asking me out “for coffee or something,” as I’m a fan of both coffee and some things. I know we’ve been chatting for a couple of weeks now, and you’re ready to meet me in person, but I’ll be honest: I’m not there yet.

I’d like to go all in on this one. In the past, I’ve met guys for coffee or drinks after a week or two, and it’s been a little underwhelming, but not in a life-changing, gut punch, all-the-air-is-out-of-my-balloon way. I think that’s my fault: I didn’t have very clear expectations of them. Sure, I knew that their job at the bank was just a way to save up money for law school, or that their ex-wife was a total bitch who insisted on naming their son Jupiter, but I didn't really know them. I didn't click on my OKCupid inbox and view inside their very souls.

With you, I’d like to know everything. I want to know all about the weird sexual stuff you wouldn’t tell me until either our sixth date or my accidental pregnancy, whichever comes first. I want to know that you secretly get aroused when women insult your penis. I’ll act a little horrified at first, say, “Well, how much material do women have, exactly?” but then I’ll start thinking of ways to sexually humiliate you. I’ll ask, “So, should I just punch you in the balls instead of shaking your hand, then?” It’ll be really exciting.

Right now, if I went out to Starbucks with you for an afternoon date of lattes and scones, I’d know only that your profile says you “Doesn’t have kids but wants them.” I want to gently tease you for wanting to name a future daughter Iris because of the Goo Goo Dolls, even as I type through my tears and wonder if anyone will ever love me the way Nic Cage loves Meg Ryan in that movie. I want to feel my ovaries go all gooey when you imagine holding your child for the first time, and I want to let out a loud “Awwwww!” when you close your message with a crying face emoticon.

Before we set up our first date, Jerry, I’m going to need to drift off to sleep imagining all the ways we’ll apologize to each other after we have sex for the first time. You’ll apologize for finishing too soon, yet you’ll gallantly refuse to blame me for insisting that you wear a condom. In return, I’ll apologize for staring at your erect penis and blurting out a series of increasingly offensive “yo mama” jokes.

We will both vow to do better next time.

So let’s talk for a couple more weeks. Hell, make that a month. Then we can go to Starbucks, our stomachs flip-flopping with anticipation, only to spot each other across the milk bar and be instantly disappointed. You’ll wonder why my tits looked so much bigger in my profile pic, and I’ll wonder if your listed height of six-feet-one was taken when you were wearing four-inch lifts.

We’ll both try to hide our anger, even though we'll be thinking, “If he/she would lie to me about this, maybe this whole thing has been an illusion.”

I’ll offer to pay for my java chip Frappuccino and blueberry scone, and you’ll let me without making even the most cursory of objections. After forty minutes of stilted conversation, I’ll mutter, without looking at you, “Well, thanks. That was fun. We should do it again sometime.”

You’ll reply, “I’ll call you,” even though I never gave you my number.

Then I’ll go home, boot up my computer, and see that I have a new message from a bisexual landscaper named Leon. He’s thirty-two and divorced.

He doesn’t have kids, and he doesn’t want them.

Lareign Ward is an MFA candidate in creative nonfiction at Eastern Washington University, where she also serves as an assistant managing editor for Willow Springs. Previous work has appeared in Trop and REAL. She grew up in East Texas but now lives in Spokane, Washington, with two cats and a SAD lamp.
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