I didn't expect them to come crashing down with such a noisy thud. The next day one of them called. I'd forgotten both of their names, but I assumed Federico must be the one I liked because no one named Federico is ever not cute, right?
Imagine my surprise -- and utter disappointment -- when the one I had zero interest in showed up in my hotel lobby to pick me up for our date. I tried to hide my disappointment, and I think I succeeded through the walk across the street to the restaurant, through the appetizers and through the main course. But on the walk back to my hotel, it became painfully obvious to me that Federico didn't want to let this date end with a firm handshake.
I could play the early flight card since I was returning home the next day. Or I could fake illness. I decided to do the right thing and tell him the truth. I don't know what possessed me to do it. Was I afraid my nose would grow if I told a lie? Or was my mean streak coming out to play? As if it were all some colossal joke, I told Federico that when he called I actually didn't know whether it was him or his friend, so I wasn't sure who was going to show up tonight.
He wasn't laughing. Was I disappointed? He wanted to know. I didn't say yes. I don't think I said no either. I'm not sure what I said, but the look on my face must have told him what he needed to know. He accepted a firm handshake in the lobby and wished me a safe flight home.
I saw Federico a few times after I moved to Buenos Aires (always wearing the same white pants -- Is there a no-white-after-Labor Day rule in a country that has no Labor Day?), but he always pretended not to see me. As for his friend, I never saw him again. At least I don't think I did. Maybe I did, and I just didn't realize it was him. Maybe I even slept with him. And I still don't know his name.