I took one last drag from my cigarette, and crushed it onto the pavement with the toe of my shoe. Exhaling, I picked up a grocery basket, and walked through the automatic doors. Cleaning supplies and fresh fruit filled my nostrils; I wrinkled my nose at the smell. I hated grocery stores, but it was the price I paid for living alone.
I turned left, avoiding a run in with a mother and two squealing kids, and headed towards the shampoo aisle. I stopped midway, staring at the countless brands before me; I hated making decisions. I ruffled my hand through my black, curly hair and sighed. I picked up my usual brand: Dove men 2-in-1, and tossed in the basket draped over my arm. Next stop, laundry detergent.
I groaned as I saw the aisle was packed with people; I’ll come back in a couple minutes. What else do I need again? Retrieving the crumpled list from my jean’s pocket, I saw that I needed bananas. Heading in the opposite direction, I went back to the front of the store. Thankfully, the produce section wasn’t nearly as crowded as the detergent aisle. Only a few elderly people mingled here and there, contemplating which fruit they wanted. I saw Mr. Henderson, my neighbor in my apartment building and gave him a quick wave.
Walking over to the bananas, I dropped my basket to the floor. Picking out fruit always took the longest because I was so god damn picky. I eyed two bunches of bananas that both looked as close to perfect as I was going to get. I reached out for the one on the left and was surprised at the sudden appearance of hand reaching for the same bunch. I drew back quickly and turned my head.
A woman with long, auburn hair and light green eyes stood about a foot away from me. Her grocery basket was draped over arm like mine had been only moments ago. I drew in a sharp breath at the sight of her. She really was quite pretty. Her sweater and jeans accentuated every curve of her body, and her skin seemed soft and angelic. She cocked her head and smiled apologetically.
“I’m sorry.” She said, her voice sweet. “You can take that bunch.”
It took me a moment to register what she said, but when I finally did, I shook my head vigorously. “No, you take them. They’re basically the same as the bunch next to them.”
“Are you sure?” she asked, already reaching for the bananas.
“Absolutely.” I said breathlessly. Shit.
She laughed; a pure, innocent, sweet, musical laugh. A laugh I could listen to all my life. She placed the bananas in her basket, and tucked a strand of auburn hair behind her ear.
“So what’s your name?”
Clearing my throat, I put the other bunch of bananas in my basket. “Christopher.”
“Well, Christopher, it’s nice to meet you.” She said, extending a hand. “I’m Amy.”
I shook her hand, and gave her a weak smile. Her grip was unexpectedly firm. “Nice to meet you, Amy.” This woman was making my knees grow weak by just the sound of her voice. How the hell was this possible?
We exchanged an awkward stare, before I picked up my basket from the floor behind me, and walked away. My cheeks blushed, and my neck grew hot. A knot formed in my stomach, and I felt a tightness in my jeans. Oh God no, not here. Not the grocery store.
I rushed through self-checkout, not bothering to gather the rest of the items on my list. I just wanted to get back to my apartment. My groceries in cheap plastic bags less than five minutes later, and I was out the door.
Amy. I think I could start to like the grocery store.
Putting my one bag of groceries on my small kitchen table, I cursed myself for running out of the store so quickly. What the hell was I thinking? There was the fact that I hadn’t any sort of conversation with a woman in over a year, let alone an attractive woman such as Amy. The shape of her pink lips, and her sweet voice was enough to make my knees weak. It couldn’t be possible for someone to this much power over me. Then there was the fact that we met in the produce section of the fucking grocery store. That would be a great story to tell the kids. You see sweetheart, daddy met mommy when they both reached for the same bunch of bananas. Oh hell, who am I kidding? Kids were so far-fetched. It was unlikely that I’d never even see her again; our town wasn’t that small.
Her face appeared in my mind; her light green eyes, sparkling in the fluorescent lights, her auburn hair that shaped her face in the most beautiful way, and those lips, those sweet, sweet lips. My mouth went dry, and my breath quickened at the thought of her. Jesus, she wasn’t even here and she was doing this to me! How?
Somewhere in my mind, I made the decision that I needed to see her again. I needed to find out more about her; if I had any sort of chance with her. I needed to know. How I was going to see her again, I had no idea. Leaving the apartment more often would be a decent start, a sarcastic voice said. Shut up, I told it, rolling my eyes. For now though, there was nothing I could do.
Putting away my groceries took all of five minutes, and I grabbed a beer while I was near the fridge. Migrating into the living room, I grabbed the remote off the coffee table and turned on the T.V. One good thing about living alone; the T.V. was always on the same channel every time I turned it on. It didn’t take long before my mind wandered away from the events of this afternoon. I got a few Amy free hours, as I engulfed myself in the college football game currently airing. When it was over however, Amy’s face was back. Get out. Her laugh echoed throughout my brain; so sweet, and pure… I groaned and leaned my head back. I could tell this wasn’t going to stop until I saw her again.
I checked the clock hanging above the T.V. It was almost five o’clock; time to watch the news. I flipped to the local news channel, and repositioned my body to a more comfortable position. My eyes were fluttering when I heard it; that sweet, pure laugh. I sat up straight, my eyes wide, staring at the screen. There she was. Dressed in a navy blue, pinned striped suit, was Amy from the grocery store. She was standing in front of a giant weather map, now talking about a possible thunderstorm headed for us later in the week. It can’t be. Twice in one day?
I didn’t believe in fate until this moment. I am supposed to see her again. I just don’t know how.
For the next three days, I went out all over town, hoping to spot Amy. I went to the grocery multiple times a day, often leaving empty handed. Fellow shoppers gave me stranger looks, as I ushered down the aisles, looking for her auburn hair. I ignored them of course; they didn’t understand.
I knew perfectly well that I seemed crazy to everyone. I met a girl in the produce section, saw her on my T.V. and was now desperately searching for her. I know I’m crazy, but I just can’t help it. I won’t be satisfied until I see her again.
At the end of each Amy-less day, I would watch the news, waiting for the weather, so I could see her. I’d observe her beauty all over again; it was something I could never get enough of. There was electricity between us when we met in the store, and it had been buzzing ever since; a constant buzzing.
By the fourth day, I admit I was losing hope. It seemed silly to me now, searching all over town for a girl I didn’t really know. I still went about my usual routine, but this time not expecting to see her. Reality was taking over.
I was at the local diner, stopping for a cup of coffee to refuel before I continued my day. I had a window seat and was staring out at the busy street, my head resting on my hand. I mindlessly sipped my coffee and watched a toddler throw a temper tantrum; his mom struggling to put him in the car.
The bell chimed, signaling someone had come into the diner. I ignored it and continued to watch the toddler and mother.
“Hey Hal.” A woman’s voice said from across the diner.
The greasy cook answered with a grunt and continued making breakfast sandwiches.
She laughed, and the second she did, I turned my head in her direction. It was that pure, sweet laugh. Her laugh. It was Amy. She was here!
I debated if I should get up and greet her, but realized she probably won’t remember me. We exchanged nothing more than a few words, and that had been the extent of our relationship. But the electricity was growing stronger, I had to do something. I had been waiting for four days for this.
Slowly, I got up out of seat, and walked towards her. She had taken a seat at the counter, studying her menu. Her hair was down today, just like the first time I saw her. She was in a navy blue sweater, and black jeans. God, she was beautiful.
I cleared my throat and she spun around, somewhat alarmed.
“Hi, erm, sorry, you may not remember me but-”
“You’re Christopher from the grocery store right? The bananas?” a smile spread across her face, and butterflies in my stomach soared to new heights.
I could feel a blush creeping up my neck. She remembered. “Yeah, yeah that was me. I was hoping I would see you again, actually.” I mumbled. She made me feel like a little boy with his first crush.
She raised an eyebrow, clearly intrigued. “Oh, really? Why’s that?” she gave a mischievous smile; she was testing me. She wanted to see if I had the guts to say what she already knew.
I brushed a hand through my hair and laughed nervously. “I just, uh, I thought you were the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen and well…” I couldn’t finish my sentence. What the hell was I supposed to say? I left the store with half a hard-on? I wanted to grab you and kiss you from the moment you faced me? No.
She cocked her head, and smiled, more sincerely this time. “Is this some cheesy way of picking up a young woman trying to get breakfast?” she joked.
I shrugged, laughing with her. “This is me confessing my attraction to a girl I met in the produce section after a two minute conversation.”
She patted the seat next to her, and that morning, Amy and I had breakfast.
Two sizzling plates of eggs, sausage and home fries were placed in front of Amy and I. I had now joined her at the counter, and she had been telling me about her job. Amy was so easy to talk to; it was like opening a book that was just waiting to be read. She was so willingly to tell me about herself, letting me in to her life.
I couldn’t help but notice everything she did, every movement she made. The way she puckered her lips when she was wiping them with a napkin. The way she constantly tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, or the way her eyes squinted shut when she laughed really hard. I found that it was quite easy to make her laugh.
“So,” I said nervously, playing with the last bit of home fries on my plate. “Would you be interested in having dinner with me some time?” It was a bit of a long shot, I knew that, but I was still hoping she said yes.
Something changed in her expression as she realized what I asked her. “Oh, uhm, I don’t really know if that’s a good idea.” She mumbled, not making eye contact.
“Okay. It’s fine. I was just wondering.” I said casually. Truthfully, I was hurt. She had been so happy to see me again, and invited me to eat with her, and now she didn’t want to see me again?
She gave me a look of confusion. “You’re not mad?”
I shook my head. “No, you don’t want to, and that’s fine. I didn’t really expect you to.”
She smiled again. “Thank you for being understanding.” She grabbed her purse, laying money on the counter for her bill.
“Will I see you again?” I asked, sounding like a little kid.
She grabbed her jacket, and tossed her hair. “Maybe, who knows?” She said before walking out of the diner.