By Elyne Quan (Toronto, ON)

I'm early. The café is mostly empty. It's over air-conditioned and dim near the back where people I know walking by can't see me, and not too far back that an escape is awkward. Who am I kidding? The whole thing is awkward.

How did I get here? All I know is that two days ago I agreed to meet up with some guy - whose profile handle was Spiderman and who didn't look like a serial killer - for a coffee. I'm not a complete moron. We sent some emails back and forth but I was advised to meet them early and then cut them loose if they weren't right and so, bravely, that's what I'm doing. Brave! I'm brave! I just wish I wasn't both shivering under the vent and sweaty under my armpits. Where is he?

And then he comes in. Dale. He's shorter than his profile picture. His hairline is... different? Whatever! Pictures aren't always accurate. We say hello. He gets a coffee. We start to talk. He's an entomologist.

I thought you were an etymologist, you know, with words.

Nope. I'm a bug man.

And then he sees it. A lonely spider that has somehow gotten its way into the café, probably by hitching a ride in someone's hair. Dale picks it up, cradles it in his hand and walks to the front door to deposit the spider to the safety of the outdoors. I shiver. Spiders. I know I don't want a second date.

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