Jack had a drink in his hand when we met. Correction: he was wasted. Still, this cute white boy caught my eye as he slurred, “You’re beautiful! Can I get your number?” Despite my better judgment, I inputted my digits in his address book and watched as he stumbled out of the bar. No big deal, I thought, plenty of men are trashed by 4 p.m. on a Wednesday. Boy, was I wrong.
He called two days later. At work and sober, Jack asked if I was free the following week. We set up the details for our date, but when D-Day arrived I had yet to hear from him. I was about to call it a wash when he texted, asking that I meet him at a bar. No big deal, I thought, plenty of first dates take place at taverns.
It was a bar located in my neighborhood, though I had never heard of it. Actually, when I came upon it, I realized that I had passed by this dingy dive a millions of times and never dared to walk in. This place isn’t upscale or trendy; it’s a well-known neighborhood hangout for heroin addicts and alcoholics. Yet I still went in.
Jack was sitting by the back and motioned me to come sit with him. It was 5 p.m., and my date was already drunk. He spent the entire time throwing back Jameson and Jose Cuervo shots, while I sipped on a Bacardi and Coke, waiting for the right opportunity to exit.
Thirty minutes later, an older woman walked into the bar. Her long hair unkempt, skin yellowing and teeth missing, the woman stomped over to our table with a menacing look. I knew I was in trouble.
“Hey, Jack. This your date?” she asked, eyeing me up and down.
“Yeah, Sujeiry, this is my girlfriend!” Jack, eyes half-open, spit out to me.
Speechless, I shook her hand and watched him kiss her on the lips.
“Wait, what are you doing here?” Jack asked his novia. I was more interested in why he didn’t tell me he had a girlfriend, and a raggedy, scary vieja at that.
“With the restraining order, we’re not supposed to be near each other …” he mumbled as he took another swig.
That apparently hit a nerve. My date’s girlfriend screamed at the top of her lungs, “You won’t hit me, you asshole!”
All hell broke loose. I watched and crouched over in my chair as they went at it, accusing each other of cheating, beatings and alcoholism.
“I’m going to AA like the court ordered. I’m getting better, and I don’t want you around!” Jack shouted, drunk off his ass.
That’s when I realized my initial instincts were right. Jack wasn’t just a stressed out white boy letting out steam after a long day of working in finance. He had a drinking problem. He was an alcoholic. I was on a date with him, and that was a huge deal.