Dear Sir,

April 12, 2011
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Dear Sir,

We have never been introduced. But we are not strangers. We see it each other nearly every Tuesday and Thursday at the same time and the same place: the corner of onion and tomato. It’s a dangerous corner, I tell you. Carts pile up there all the time. But I don’t mind. It gives us time to talk.
You ask me if I need any help finding things, and I smile and shake my head. Some day I’ll come in with a ridiculous request—cream of cactus, maybe—and then you can pretend to help me find it somewhere amongst the rows and rows of vegetables.
I know you. You’re kind. You smile at the sweet old grannies that come in—one of the only smiles they see all day—and ask them how they’re doing, what happened to their cat, or where the Senior Center went last weekend. They ask you about finals, your plans for the weekends, if your mother’s feeling better. You’ve become their long-lost grandson, the one that actually visits and sees them as people.
If I could only see one smile all day, it would be yours. It’s sweeter than honey, and fills you right up to the brim with glowing goodness.
You escape from the maze of green to find me by the doors. You ask if I need any help out today. With my one bag of produce. I smile, a toothy thing that splits my face in half, and hand you the nearly empty cart.
Tuesdays are me days. You ask how my Calc test went, what I did over break, and—if we have time—plans for the summer. I’ve taken to parking at the far end of the lot. We walk slowly.
There’s one rule with our visits. No names.
On Thursdays, it’s you day. I ask you how your mom is doing and what your new classes are for the quarter. If we walk really slowly, you tell me about the colleges you hope to transfer into once your mom is better. You glow with excitement at the thought of it.
But Sir, I have a confession.
I want names.
I want a name to whisper to myself on cold, lonely nights to warm me up inside. I want a name, so sweet on my lips, I can’t help but smile when I say it aloud. I want a name to match with the heavenly face that I look forward to seeing all Monday, Wednesday, and the weekend.
But I cannot tell you this. Because if I did, the spell would be broken. You would disappear back into the expanse of vegetation, and I would become just another shopper, spending way too much time thinking about what type of apple she wants to by today.
And so I wait. I wait for the day when you finally stop me on the long trek to my car and say, “I’m Sir.”
And I shout, “I’m Hannah,” because my voice control fell to the asphalt along with my jaw in surprise.
And then we’d laugh and continue walking, happier, closer people.

Today is Tuesday.
And I discovered a new fruit. Be ready to help me find a cherimoya. Or don't. Who knows, it may take all day.

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