I’m sorry. Why the hell did I just say that? I’m nervous. Blah. Come on in.

Don’t worry about taking off your shoes. I’ve never worn shoes inside my apartment for the past four years, but I’m too accommodating to keep that streak alive.

Make yourself at home and walk those soiled boots over the rug I could barely afford.

Why don’t I make you a drink? I don’t have proper cocktail glasses, but I have ten plastic cups from my childhood home for some reason. They’re the only ones my mom let me keep.

I’ll pour some whiskey from a bottle on top of my fridge that I haven’t touched. I also have half of a wrinkled and colorless lemon in a plastic bag that I can throw in there. Cheers.

Keep in mind, I’ve never hosted before, so go easy on me.

Take a seat on the couch. Feel free to read what’s on the coffee table, which is a pregnancy for single mothers book I found in the lobby.

I should start cooking. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t look over here. It freaks me out, and I’ll freeze up — I barely even have the confidence to do it when I’m alone.

How’ve you been liking the dating apps?

For tonight, it’s a one-veggie meal. I couldn’t find most of the ingredients at my local store, except for this extra-large yellow onion. I’m supposed to “finely dice” it, whatever that means. I’ll just give it one good chop in half since I’m scared of knives. There. Onion ready to go.

Dropping that into the pan. Olive oil was pricey, so I’m drenching the pan and onion with some Pam spray as a substitute.

Turning the burner on high. Nothing…

Right, you have to light it first.

Ah, I see “LITE” by the knob — interesting. Holding it there for a little. It’s ticking. Lots of ticking.

What’s that smell? Woof. I don’t know what is up with this stove. If I’m being transparent, this is my first time using it since I moved here in 2017.

Again, please don’t even look this way because the sense of someone’s gaze on me while performing the simplest of tasks makes me feel like I’m operating my limbs in a tower that is hundreds of miles away from my body.


Going to assume you’re neck-deep in that book. Glad you like it.

Burner is still ticking. Smells kind of like almonds, which must mean the cooking is off to a great start.

Let me try with another burner while I keep this one ticking.

Holy shit. A gigantic raging flame has enveloped the stove and pan.

Should be fine. Avert yer eyes, matey.

Are you okay over there? Whoa, you’re somehow sleeping through this. No problem. Mi casa es tu casa.

How far along are you? In the book. Let me know when you wake up.

Ugh, the fire is unbearably hot and I’m covered in sweat. I have to stand back a few feet while the fire spreads to my cabinets. I’m trusting the recipe and assuming the onion will be fine when all is said and done. Like I said, kind of a newbie. Don’t judge too hard.

Sorry to disturb, but you might want to wake up from your catnap. I’m down on my hands and knees, gasping to breathe. The air was a little thicker while standing. I blame the plumes of smoke shrouding my apartment.

Let me crawl near the couch.

Looks like you’re on the floor too, nice. Sometimes a floor nap is grounding. I feel you on that one.

Going to let the onion cook undisturbed. I’m dragging my body across the floor with my limited energy, using the baseboards to guide myself to any exit I can find.

Ouch, I’m definitely catching on fire. Flames are running up my pant leg. Crap. I’m such a nervous wreck on first dates. I hope this food turns out okay.

I swear I’m not ignoring you, just a total novice in the kitchen. It’s really nice to have you over.

Does the book, by chance, have any first-time cooking tips? Just curious to hear an outsider’s perspective. Could be funny.

Someone just breached the front door in half before I could open it. I wasn’t expecting more company, but the neighbors in the building are so sweet. I’ll clean up the splinters and door fragments after I do dishes.

Ignore the peeling wallpaper and blackened ceilings. It’s my first time cooking. Hope ya’ll like onion!

I might take a floor nap of my own down here, if you guys don’t mind. Feeling super light-headed.

Wow, time got away from me. Let me just stretch — huh, cannot seem to move any of my limbs or anything. The room is pretty blurry. That nap got the best of me.

There you are. Where’d you get that doctor outfit? That’s rich. I wasn’t expecting any dressing up tonight.

I should check on the onion.


Sorry. I passed out again.

My place looks different, did you clean? You’re a saint. Dinner should be ready shortly.

Oh my god. My parents are here? They look so much older. What the hell. This is a nice surprise, though. I can’t make any audible noise; otherwise, I’d introduce you. Didn’t think you’d meet them so soon.

Feel stuck on this bed for some reason. So groggy from that nap.

I hope that extra-large onion is enough to feed everybody.

Did the neighbors end up leaving, by the way?

Aw, Mom, don’t cry. That’s sweet how you’re putting your hand on my forehead. But we just saw each other last week! I think.

Sit down, check out that pregnancy book my date was reading.

You’re saying goodbye already? And holding a tissue to your eyes while sobbing? All right. At least you and Dad stopped by. Really wish I could get up. Bye!

How’d you like my parents? I think they liked you. Okay, you’re reaching next to me. Didn’t expect things to move this quickly, especially before dinner.

Oh… I’m assuming you’re headed to the bathroom now since you’re leaving the room but stopping for a moment in the doorway to look at me somberly. Totally get it. Nature calls. It’s your first right down the hall.

I’m trying my best to get words out, but not sure if you’re catching any of it.

Hearing a long flat beep. That must be my smoke alarm. About time.

I’m starting to feel much, much better now. Warmer. Glowing. Almost like I could let another nap take me. I’ll hold on a little longer since you’re here.

But let me close my eyes for a moment.

Ah… I’m getting flashes of so many memories over the years. All in an instant. Would love to hear about some of your memories, too.

This is so nice. I’m really glad you came over. We should do this again sometime.

Dinner should be almost done. Would you mind bringing it over when you’re out of the bathroom?

I’d really appreciate it.

Hey, we should pray before we eat.

Just kidding. I’m not religious or anything.