Saturday, February 07, 2004

This week's Fragment

Well, I didn't do one last week, but I liked doing it two weeks ago, so I'll give it a shot again.
Fragment for Feb. 7, 2004:

He came into the Conoco station where I worked every morning to buy his breakfast before
heading to work. His name was Jack, he was tall, he had dark hair and blue eyes, and I was
in love. That morning he bought a blueberry muffin and a 20-ounce coffee. When he came
in, I stood up a little straighter and ran my hands down my dumpy uniform to straighten it

"You should ask him out, Hope," whispered my co-worker Chaz from the other
register. I gave him an I-don't-think-so look. It was rush hour and the store was busy,
and I barely even knew him. Chaz caught my glare and shrugged, whispering again, "Well, I
think you ought to, is all..."

Jack brought his coffee and muffin up to the line in front of my register. There
were two people ahead of him. He always came to my register, I realized just then. Even
if the other one was open, he'd let someone else switch. Maybe that means something, I
thought. Or maybe it's not even true, said the doubting voice in my head. He probably
didn't even notice that he had the same cashier every morning. It's not something I notice
when I go to buy groceries or anything.

One person left between him and me. I tried to justify asking him out to myself.
It's not that I wanted a big fancy dinner and a show, after all. I'd be happy with coffee
at the cafe downtown after work. And I was pretty sure he wasn't married or seeing
someone. He didn't wear a wedding ring and when he opened his wallet to pull out money, he
didn't have any pictures of a wife or a girlfriend. But why would he pick me, anyway? He
was a young professional, and I was just a cashier in a gas station. I sighed in my head.
It was probably hopeless. I'll leave the poor guy alone.

He was at the counter now. I rang up his purchase and told him the total. He dug
through his wallet and set a ten-dollar bill on the counter. As I reached to take it, he
put his hand on mine and said, "You're very pretty, you know that?"

I stood there dumbfounded for a second. He took his hand away and said, "Sorry...
it's just that I see you every day here and you really are beautiful."

"Th-thank you," I stuttered, still trying to get my mouth to form real words. He
smiled and whispered, "You're welcome." I got his change from the register and as I handed
it to him, I blurted out, "Wanna go get coffee after you get off work?" Then I realized
what I'd just said and clapped my hand over my mouth, eyes wide. He noticed and chuckled,
saying, "Sure, where?"

Deep breath, hand off mouth, speak..."The cafe across the street?"

"Sure. I can be there by five."

I nodded. "Okay."

"Okay," he said and turned to go, but then stopped and looked back.

"I know your name's Hope, but what's your last name?"

"Davies. What's yours?"

"Paris. See you at five." And he was gone.

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