Pepperonis and Puppy Love

 As she stepped out of the car to go on her first date, 14-year-old Megan Fitzgerald cringed as her mom yelled out the window with too much enthusiasm, “Have fun, honey!” Her date opted for pizza and a movie, but there was one problem: Ops Pizza was the only pizza place in town.

Her earliest memory of Ops was sitting at the counter in amazement watching dough twirl in the air. Occasional family visits turned into a weekly post-church tradition and the go-to celebration spot. Before long, the owners considered Megan as their own daughter.         

With sweaty palms and a trail of cheap cologne, they were ushered to a reserved table adorned with paper roses and twinkling tealight candles.

Megan whispered under her breath, “My mom definitely had something to do with this.”

Reading the Harry Potter series cover to cover and hours of tennis practice didn’t prepare her for the awkward small talk. This was new territory for her.

Thrilled to watch the spectacle that is middle school dating, the staff couldn’t help but peak their heads around the corner to catch a glimpse. These glances were quickly met with Megan’s tight lips and piercing glares.

As they finished the complimentary zeppolis, Megan was eager to head to the movies and leave the awkwardness of dinner behind her.          

Regardless of how this date turned out, Megan knew one thing: She would never go on a date at Ops ever again.