She got to the restaurant early and ordered a cup of coffee. She put half a packet of fake sugar in it and stirred, making little scraping sounds with her spoon. She was there to meet a man she had been corresponding with through the online dating service. Her name was Belinda, but the name she used for the service was Kimberly, Kim for short, because she had always hated her name.
She was dressed in a new blouse and skirt. They went with a pair of shoes that she found in the back of her closet. Earlier when she was dressing in front of the mirror she buttoned up the blouse -- it had gold buttons shaped like small knots -- she turned and looked over her shoulder and gave herself a sly, sexy glance and smoothed her hands over her breasts. Then she fumbled with the buttons the way she imagined a man might do, a man who was nervous about unbuttoning them and worried if she might slap his hand away.
After she had drunk half the cup of coffee she looked down at her blouse. It was black with a pattern of red and gold squiggles. The gold in the blouse went with the buttons. She had spilled a drop of coffee on the front of her blouse, right on one of the gold squiggles, just over her left breast. The coffee had made her shaky but she was already fearful of meeting this man whom she had only seen three pictures of on her computer screen. The pictures were small and kind of blurry and it was hard to get a good idea of what he looked like, but Belinda wasn’t one to be fussy about the way men looked, except that she didn’t like men with beards or ear hair. Now she was even more nervous about what he might think of her, with a spotted breast. She wrapped her finger in her white cloth napkin and dipped it into her ice water. It was polyester so it didn’t absorb the water very well but she figured that was all right because all she needed was a big wet spot on her front. She dabbed at the spot, putting her other finger on the inside of the blouse through the space between the buttons.
While she was doing this, rubbing and dabbing and trying not to make more of a mess than she already had, she became aware of a sound, like a man talking nearby. He was saying something. Over and over. What was he saying, and who is he talking to, she thought. She realized he was saying Kimberly. That was supposed to be her name and she wasn’t even responding to it. She looked up slowly, so as not to let him know that she was Kimberly which was a good thing, too, because he was very short and had an uneven beard, the kind that was not trimmed from his cheeks and which grew low on his neck like some kind of religious person