She stood underneath the store’s awning smoking a cigarette telling herself, as always, “This is my last one. I’ll quit after this one. I’ll go right to the store and buy some Nicotine patches.” The rain didn’t look like it was going to let up anytime soon and she sighed heavily and distractedly tossed the “cancer stick” aside, subconsciously knowing that the drenched sidewalk wouldn’t pose a fire hazard. After letting out a mostly inward groan she turned back around and went back into the store, taking comfort in its familiarity. Her hands ran across the stacks of vinyl and she inhaled deeply to take a big whiff of their idiosyncratic scent. She had come to the store specifically for the most recent Arctic Monkeys album that she had intended to buy weeks ago. It hadn’t taken her long to acquire her target and she didn’t even have enough money to browse through the used vinyl (if she so much as looked, she’d end up buying anything of interest she came across and there’d go grocery money for a week!), even though she desperately wanted to. Two middle school age boys looked in her direction and started giggling, and after following their sight lines, realized that the rain had managed to turn her—poorly chosen on a day with such weather—white v-neck a translucent shade and her low cut bra was clearly visible. A much-practiced glare in their direction was all it took for the two pre-teens to clumsily stumble away. All of a sudden the air in the store felt charged, as if the very chemistry of the room had changed. She felt as if she was being watched from behind and had to catch her breath when she spun around to come face to chest with a man who easily had six inches on her. Once she glanced up at his face she was certainly pleased with what she saw. His face was beautiful in a soft way that she didn’t usually find attractive in men. Long, voluminous, black curls tumbled down to his shoulders and from there, on continued a slender frame. He wore a clearly well loved black leather jacket with bright red velvet pants. It was an outfit she’d find ridiculous on anyone else from this decade, but somehow he pulled it off. He looked like a 1970s rock star that had found himself in 2011. His almond shaped green eyes looked into her own brown eyes intensely, but there was no awkwardness. The sense of time and place were lost to her in the unknown amount of minutes they shared a mutual stare. As if suddenly realized what was going on, he shook his head a bit and gave her an impossibly charming smile before saying, “I’m sorry, you looked like someone I know from behind.” He gave her one last nod before heading to the second level of the store and she stood there stunned. In the future he would not become anything more to her than a strong memory of a few brief moments, but they were a few moments that wouldn’t seem to leave her mind for the rest of her life.
October 22, 2011