Ordering pizza for one on a Monday evening isn’t okay, is it? I mean, it’s allowed, but it doesn’t exactly scream “I’m a functional member of society!”, does it?
I never do this. I’m a meal prepper; every Sunday afternoon I painstakingly measure scoops of rice and remove the fat-laden skin from chicken breasts to ensure maximal nutrition and minimal bullshit. My body is a temple. I don’t fuck with trans fats.
But listen, this day was crap from the start: I had to cycle to work in the rain, then my boss yelled at me for being late, then I was forced to sit at my desk in wet clothes until five o’clock and then when I got outside to the bike racks, I found my broken bike chain on the ground. I had to walk home in the rain! Shouldn’t that earn me one glorious, greasy cheat day?
Thank you for not making eye contact during the handover. I feel rubbish enough as it is, I don’t need your judgement.
I couldn’t stop thinking about you today. Okay, not you specifically. It was more about the pizza that you brought me last night. All day long, I was taunted by delicious memories of the cheese, the spicy beef, the pickle zing, the satisfying crunch of the Italian thin crust…
You looked at me this time. I was embarrassed to be getting pizza delivered two nights in a row, but there was no judgement in your eyes, only warmth. You smiled and told me to have a great evening. I did have a great evening.
Pizza isn’t entirely bad for you. This one has onions on it, which is a vegetable, which are good for you. Checkmate, haters.
I dressed up a little tonight. I swear there was no ulterior motive, it was just because you’ve only seen me looking like a mess so far and that’s not an accurate reflection of who I am as a person. So, I put on a nice dress, I styled my hair, I did my best with my makeup, and I hit “order now”.
You were lovely, as always. We chatted and I found out that you’re originally from Poland and you’re studying Economics at the local university. From the first moment we met, I knew you were smart – with some people, you can just tell. I feel like I’ve known you for ages.
I was excited to see you again tonight for our standing date on my doorstep, but you seemed distracted, and you didn’t even laugh at my joke about the pickles. I hope I haven’t upset you somehow. I don’t know what I would do if you weren’t in my life.
The pizza still tasted good, though.
Disaster! Tragedy! Defcon one!
Why the hell did I think I could eat this much pizza and not suffer any consequences? As I stumbled into the bathroom this morning, bleary-eyed and bloated from last night’s sins, I saw it straight away: an enormous red spot on the middle of my forehead, like a great, big, greasy bullseye!
I called in sick to work, obviously. I needed time to strategize before our evening rendez-vous. I tried everything: hats, scarves, a frantic haircut. Everything I did looked awful.
I’m so sorry for scaring you. I realise now that the makeup was too severe, and the veil was inappropriate. I also now appreciate that I shouldn’t have run into the street or yelled after you; I should’ve let you go. You’ll find your way back to me – this is how all the great love stories begin.
The pizza was a little scrambled after you dropped it on my doorstep, but it was okay. I picked out most of the door mat fibres.
I couldn’t wait until the evening to see you, so I ordered a pizza for lunch. Imagine my disappointment when I opened the door to see some strange woman with pink hair holding out the box! I guess you only work evenings.
Her name tag said “Fran”. I’ll call the pizza place later and complain.
I hope you’re not avoiding me.
The solution came to me in a dream.
My nerves jangled when you opened the door, sorry about that. I bet you never get nervous about anything.
I invited you inside. I opened the door wider and pressed my back against the hallway wall. You saw it all – the tealights, the two beers, the stereo playing smooth jazz. I’d made my sitting room beautiful for you. I knew I wasn’t beautiful, but at least that awful spot on my forehead had faded.
I’ve made us a pizza, I said, my voice shaking.
Your eyes scanned the room, then me.
We stared at each other.
J.L. Corbett is the editor of Idle Ink, an online publisher of all things curious. Her stories have been published in MoonPark Review, Schlock! Webzine, The Cabinet of Heed, STORGY Magazine and others. She owns more books than she can ever possibly read and doesn’t get out much. To read more of her work, visit www.jlcorbett.org.