I walk through those wooden doors every week knowing the story front and back. Too much work. Too little time. I know I can get it done...eventually. But by that time, fatigue will take over and I’ll be asleep in the chair. I know my phone will buzz with that same message asking when I’ll be coming over followed by a million question marks and a three-word phrase hollow after so many years. I know I’ll force a smile from somewhere within when greeting the clients. And I know everything will change as soon as I see you.
I’ll admit it. I hated you at first. You were the new guy and I had my roots there for years. You understood absolutely nothing and constantly interfered with my methods of working. But then you watched, you learned, and you succeeded...in winning me over.
You stand behind the counter each week trying to hide your sneakers. Sometimes you help a child looking for something good to buy. Sometimes you run through the stock list. Other times you ring out a long line of customers. But, no matter who you’re helping or what you’re doing, you always look up and smile.
And that smile makes me believe...makes me believe that everything is possible. The workload is only another mountain that I can overcome just by knowing that you are right there smiling. I feel your eyes on my back as I check my phone and read the message. When I turn, you pretend to be busy organizing the pencils, but your lips are turned up in a smile. I delete the message and go back to work with a smile perched upon my face.
We’ve never said a single word. We just smile.
And I wouldn’t change a single thing about that.