August 3, 2027

I knew exactly what that was. What kind of person Jack Hendren was going to be. What kind of date we were going to have. What kind of situation I was getting myself into. I could’ve easily avoided meeting with him, but I saw it more of a challenge I needed to overcome. A way for me to prove to myself that I’ve come a long way and that I’ve become a stronger person.

To get even with a potential sociopath, you need to treat him exactly the same way he treats you. It’s not an easy thing to do because they’re smart and very determined to get what they want. Messing with them without being sure we’re strong enough to own it would most likely cause us to crack under the pressure and for the whole situation to backfire. Emotions are what fuels them and keeps them running. They’re skilled at ferreting out other people’s weaknesses and using them against them.

 I arrived at the restaurant and he was outside, looking meticulous and cute. A huge smile covered his face as soon as our eyes met and he opened his arms to hug me. He then opened the door for me and the host walked us to our reserved table located inside, by the window. The restaurant was ill-lighted and the decor made it seem very bourgeois. Ironically, it was probably the most romantic place I’ve ever been to on a first date. We took off our jackets and sat down. As soon as I got settled, he looked at me and said: “I want to know everything about you. Tell me everything.” If I was stupid, I would’ve taken that as a sign he was genuinely interested in me, but we both knew that wasn’t the case. 

The focus of my attention then turned to his lifeless eyes’ intense gaze. The predatory stare. Cold, icy, flat, black, empty, totally drilling into me. Just like Matt’s. I watched how he would use them to charm and seduce me. I felt myself being taken by him, almost too caught up in the moment, but then I immediately reassessed what the date was all about: A game. He asked if he could hold my hand, and I acted like it wasn’t a big deal and nodded. He reached for it underneath the table and firmly held it tight, complimenting how tender and soft it was. I smiled. You just have to go down to their level and play the game at some point. Never act uncomfortable or hesitant. Be up to the challenge and give it your everything. Allow them to feel like they’re in control, even though they’re actually not. I knew that this wasn’t going to go far, at least from my end. I don’t know what his real expectations were, or if he could tell that I was fooling him more than he was fooling me.

 Two hours later, it was time to exchange our goodbyes. Jack expressed his desire to meet again but that’s not going to happen. This whole thing was just a random love experience, a fun distraction, and a way for me to prove to myself that not even the most cunning of humans could fool me. I’ve been down that road where I desperately tried to capture rationalization and find the absolute truth of why and how some human beings’ psychology is formed with not much luck. Psychology and human behavior are tricky things that we’ll never be able to fully understand. All I know is that I’ve been crushed and deflated, used and manipulated countless times, and I’m not letting it happen again. It was time for the tables to turn. I showed up at our date tonight as unemotional and detached as I could be, determined to beat him at his own game. It was only a matter of time before the rocking of the boat happened and one of us fell out. However, if that were to happen, I knew it wasn’t going to be me.

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