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Dear You,

You are stronger
than you know.

And loved more
than you can
even imagine.

— My coffee mug.

God crumbled when I decided I’d try heavy cream in a cup of decaf. I added too much cream, not enough vanilla extract. Next cup, I’ll try more of one and less of the other.

He’s been talking to me all day, filling my head with nonsense. Oh, the deli boy, he’s got the hots for you! He’s sitting in a bar right now, nursing a pale ale (Blue Moon) down the street, hoping I’ll walk through the door one of these weeks as he watches a ball game.

My bases are loaded, boy. I need to hit a home run.

“Wait, what does that mean?” he asked the thin air around him. It was top of the second inning of the Dodgers-White Sox game. He’d heard her, somehow. It had to be her. Didn’t it?

“My bases are loaded, boy. I need to hit a home run.” It echoed through his head over and over as he stared at the screen, unwilling to look around to see if she’d entered the bar. He’d been wishing for almost an entire year she’d walk into his life in some way. She had to be somewhere around this God-forsaken town.

[Close your ears, God.]

At first, he thought she was stalking him. She kept showing up at his work place. Daily, even. She always bought something, so it wasn’t like she was just wasting time walking through the grocery store and out the door again. But every day? That was weird. And the number of times she walked it — two or three times — that was a bit excessive, honestly. Although, it wasn’t every day.

Some people thought she was just stoned and shopping for the munchies. They never spoke about smelling reefer on her, though they thought they surely would, with her punky pink hair and odd clothing.

She didn’t have pink hair right now. If she did, she hadn’t been to the store in two months. No, it seems that she dyed it black. She wore these pink and black fox ears from time to time. She’s the only one who ever wears something so bizarre in the store. She hasn’t worn those in ages, either, though.

I wish she’d just go back to a punky color, honestly. I’d rather see her coming from across the room instead of wondering if that’s her every time a black pixie cut walked by. I’m positive she’s walked right by me several times, but I’m always busy with something. I’m never ready to talk to her. I’m not ready to make eye contact again, either. It sends chills through me. It raises the hair on my spine.

That’s abnormal. Usually, I just see women and forget about them. I don’t even care about the eye candy on display, really. Those women are always trouble, constantly advertising their wares for every passerby. This lady, though, the one with the punky hair… she wears baseball pants. At least, that’s what it looks like to me. That’s why I keep hoping to see her catch a game at the bar. The Red Fox Inn.

I know she’s old enough to drink. I’ve caught sight of her buying something over from the alcohol display several times now. Wine, I think. I’ve never seen her pick up a six pack, though I wish she would. I want to know what she drinks. I’m happy to know she’s old enough to drink — some of the guys thought she might be a teenager.

In fact, I remember when this ass hat with a huge mouth came into work after going to Best Buy. He said he saw her over in the video games section of the store. He also said he’d gotten her phone number, but we asked him to prove it and he couldn’t show us a contact in his phone. What an asshole. I bet she doesn’t even play video games at all.

She doesn’t need to. I’ve heard all sorts of gossip that say this, that, and the other thing… but the one thing I actually think is true is that she puts together puzzles on her dining room table. I heard that one a long time ago from some guy that put new locks on her doors. He said she lived with her parents and all she did while he was there was cook, clean, and put together that puzzle. He’d said he could easily fit into a life like that. I think I could, too, really.

Only a foodie spends all kinds of time making food. And on top of that, Ross had said it smelled like his grandma’s soup. Old style home cooking. Maybe even country home cooking. I just want to ask her to marry me based on that one fact. If it is a fact, but I don’t think Ross would randomly lie about his most exciting sale in January. He said she was wearing pajamas, too.

She’s definitely come into the store in pajamas once or twice. Her coat mostly hides it, so I guess no harm no foul. Man does she stand out, though. She made this crazy hat that I didn’t even get to see… she bought a New Year’s hat and added rabbit ears to it. As if it wasn’t enough that she had punky rainbow hair and those fox ears, she had to make a hat with rabbit ears. She wore it at least three times, everyone buzzed about it for days.

I’ve seen her with other ears, too. I have no idea how many she has, but it’s beyond adorable. I find myself wanting to pet them and see if they’re as soft as they look.

Damn! That was a crap play. The Dodgers are probably winning this one, I’m sad to say. The White Sox are good but today they’re not performing.

I can’t even imagine what I could say to a foxy girl like that.

I’m not sure what she likes at all, though I have heard she has hundreds of stickers all over the ass end of her car. I wonder if she knows how easy it would be to stalk her. She probably does. If she lives with her folks, her dad probably has a rifle. She seems fearless. She just waltzes through here every day, grabbing whatever she wants. Or so everyone thinks.

She used to buy all health food. She was a bit skinnier then, too. Then, all of a sudden, she’s buying all kinds of junk food. Everyone thinks she has a boyfriend. Maybe she does. Or maybe it’s a girlfriend. She has these rainbow piercings all up her ears. Everyone’s noted them, it seems. The cashiers, I mean. I think they wonder how much it hurt to get them all. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that she might not have gotten them all at once.

I’ve never had any piercings, but I imagine it hurts. All it says is, “I’m not afraid of a little pain.” In fact, a couple people think she might have other piercings, like her nipples. I have nothing to say about that other than I hope to see one day. And if they are pierced… why? Why would you do that? I would ask her, I think. I really have no idea why anyone would do such a thing. Earrings, I get — they’re a decoration to show off. Nipples? Meh.

I don’t even know why they’re looking at that part of her. Her smile is where it’s at. I’ve seen her smile a few times. Not at me, of course. Rat face told us she smiled when she thanked him for telling her he liked her choker one day. I’m jealous, to be honest. Rat face was the first person to compliment her and get away with it. It was all in the timing, I guess. He happened to be walking past her.

I watched him walk past her that day, actually. I don’t think she smiled at him… he never smiled at her. Normal people trade smiles. No, I think he’s lying, just like the asshole who said he got her number at Best Buy. In fact, she doesn’t talk to anyone any of the times I’ve seen her. Just her mother, whenever she ends up in the store.

I have seen her wait patiently for someone in front of her to make their food selections in the deli. She always seems to reply to people, but she never speaks first, it seems. I dunno, I’m probably overthinking it again. I know when I was concerned she might be stalking me and I went to security, they told me I was nuts.

I hate the guy who told me she almost ran into a display because she was fixated on me as she passed. I wasn’t aware of her in the aisle at the time, but the deli meats guy teased me about her being my girlfriend and I decided it was too creepy. She could have talked to me at least twice by that time. But, you know… if she only replies, then I am asking for too much. I’ll have to say something first.

It’s totally against store policy to say anything to a patron while on duty or while in the store off-duty, other than polite phrases, I mean. I can’t just ask her for her number, now that I’m convinced that she’s not stalking me. She’s just an opportunist, probably. But why me?

I’m… ordinary, in a word. She’s a fucking unicorn, wandering around in some kismet blessed life where she can spend money every day without batting an eyelash. Everyone wants to know what she does with punky hair like that. I think they want to do it, too, whatever it is. A lot of folks assume she has an AirBnB but I’ve looked around on AirBnB and I haven’t seen her picture on there. I haven’t seen the name everyone calls her by after she donated $5.00 to a charity where she put down her phone number and the name Sansara Solsinger.

We’re not supposed to talk about those tickets, but the girl who took the $5.00 donation won the weekly lottery because of her ticket. Because of Sansara’s donation that day. I don’t think that’s her real name. In fact, I asked the guy at the beer and wine kiosk if he saw her name on her license when we were on break together. He hadn’t, sadly.

I don’t think her name is Sansara because I saw her at Big Lots on Halloween. She had a cart full of kitchen bling and was sitting down on an expensive leather chair, trying it out, talking out loud to some Sansara character. I mean… the alternative is that she’s talking to herself. I thought she was on the phone at the time, but now we’ve all realized she basically talks to herself the whole time she’s in the store.

When I heard her speak, I thought she was a pack a day smoker. I’d be okay with that, it’s been a real struggle trying to quit smoking. I’m down to half a pack most days, but it seems like every time I come to the bar, I double my intake. I keep coming to the bar to see if I ever see her around. It’s the only bar with smoking indoors these days that I know of. However, later, I also heard someone say she should read for audio books because she has a lovely voice. It was lady cashier who said that, so I know it wasn’t just a bout of wishful thinking from one of the boys hot to trot.

I’m jealous of Jacob, let me tell you. She has gone through his line at least a dozen times. He’s always so happy every time, too. He tells everyone how kind she is. She always stacks the conveyor belt so all he has to do is scan and bag and go. No playing around with cold food at the beginning and end of the conveyor belt. She always tells him she has more in the cart, even though you’d think that’d be obvious. And… sigh. I’m jealous because she not only wished him luck with his drumming gig, she followed up afterward.

But that’s not the only time she’s followed up, treating people like people. One of the cashiers told her the entire history of one of her tattoos when she said it was a nice-looking tattoo. She glowed over that for an entire week, let me tell you. The next time Crystal was in her line, she asked how her family was doing. (The tattoo was kid-related, basically.)

She must really like tattoos. I saw one peeking out from under the sleeve on her left bicep, but all I know is it’s green. I love green. I want to know what her tattoo is about. I keep hoping she’ll end up in a tank top, showing it off to the whole world, but it’s been hot enough for tank tops and she hasn’t worn one once so far. It’s over 80 and she’s still wearing all black like it’s no big deal.

I wonder what she’s doing right now. I wish she was drinking some of that wine with me. I could switch. I like beer, but wine’s good, too. Anything to get a little buzz going. To relax, I mean. This should be my last beer tonight… I always hope to draw it out longer and longer, but I’m really tired of hoping she’d walk through that door.

I know she lives around here somewhere. I’ve seen her drive across 38th street plenty of times. It’s hard to miss her with those damn stickers, that’s for sure. I’m never brave enough to follow her, though. I could… but then I’d be doing exactly what I thought she was doing, and honestly, I have no taste for that. I don’t want to scare her for her phone number. That’s just stupid. And I’ve been there, done that. Restraining orders suck.

I just wanted the lady’s number. It was two blocks out of my way! I wasn’t going to follow her for eternity, but she stopped… so I parked and got out of the car, asking her how she’s doing and followed up with “Can I get your number?”

It was stupid. I know that now. I should have more sense than to follow someone home. I didn’t realize she was home, honestly. She could have been visiting for an hour, for all I knew. Next thing I know I’m being informed to stay away from her and her property by the police.

No problem!

I won’t do it again. I learned my lesson the first time. Nobody’s number is worth jail time. Not even the foxy girl. I was hoping she’d come to the Red Fox Inn because of those fox ears, but I haven’t seen her once. I’ll admit, I only come here once a week and it’s always on Tuesdays. Maybe she doesn’t go out to bars on Tuesdays. I was hoping she’d come catch a ball game, smoke, and drink some of that wine. I still do, honestly, but I can’t keep coming to the bar to knock back a few brews. That’s expensive. It’s much cheaper to watch from home with a six pack of beer.

I’ve been doing this for months, too, just hoping and wishing. I have no idea how to get to that girl. I wish I did. She’s one fine lady. I hope she’ll dye her hair pink again. If I’m lucky, I can almost run into her again at the store. If I’m even luckier, I’ll actually run into her. Everyone says she’s sweet as pie, too. I want to know for myself. Maybe she’d fawn over me if I ran into her cart. I would love it if she insisted on giving me her number. I can’t ask — if I end up doing it, I will be fired. I’ve thought about it, honestly.

She’s made me think about doing my own AirBnB, though I’m not so sure that’s what she does. She visits the store at a different time every day, so she can’t possibly have a traditional job, I don’t think. Whatever she’s doing, I want to do it, so I can spend all day every day having fun with her. I bet she’s a riot, with hair like that. I bet she’s somebody else when liquored up, too. They always are, the quiet, shy, nice ones. Once their defenses are lowered, they’re always somebody else completely. That’s the person I want to get to know. The one underneath the veneer of politeness.

I’d be pretty disappointed if she’s just a sweetheart, but on the other hand… What the hell am I saying? If she’s just a sweetheart, I could love on her forever and a day. Who needs a split personality bitch and sweetheart duo? I’ve had that before, too, and boy was it hell. It was like living with Jekyll and Hyde. I could never rest a moment; I was always looking over my shoulder to see if she was right there, waiting to pounce on me over doing something out of place, as if doing anything a different way than her was wrong. I hated that relationship and got out as soon as it was apparent it was never going to end.

Naw, I’d take a 100% sweetheart. Forget I said anything. Maybe she is a total sweetie. Man, that’d be something to have a nosebleed over. What would a total sweetheart be doing at 9:30 PM on a Tuesday night? Maybe she’s doing a puzzle. Maybe she’s cleaning. Maybe she’s sleeping. Maybe she’s eating dinner. Maybe she’s grabbing a movie with popcorn. I’d love to watch a movie with that bitch. Woman, really. I shouldn’t call her that, it’s disrespectful.

I’d love to do anything with her. Especially take her to bed, but I’ve got to get to know her first. I need to know if she is crazy, like everyone thinks at work, that I can handle it. I’m crazy, too. It’s why they’re starting to get on my nerves over there. It’s partly why I’m contemplating losing my job just to talk to a girl. Specifically that girl, though. I’ve never had this sort of inclination before, to gamble my livelihood for some action. If I have, I can’t remember it, anyway.

Why is this song in my head? Me and you and you and me. No matter how they tossed the dice, it had to be. The only one for me is you and you for me. So happy together, so happy together… I like this song but I haven’t heard it in decades. Why is it in my head now?

That was odd. As soon as it came, it went, too. Good tune, maybe I’ll look it up on YouTube to hear it again later. This ball game stinks. I need to get out of here. Good thing I walked, I’ll just pay my tab and go. I wish she’d show up one of these times. Then again, if she did, she might show up with another man. I don’t really want that, either. Everyone says she must have a boyfriend, but I don’t know. That was before Matt told me she was staring at me something fierce about three months ago.

Then again, maybe she thinks I’m somebody else. Maybe I look like a ghost from her past. I hope not! She’s been on my mind 24/7 for months and months. It’s bugging the hell out of me to watch her come and go all the time without being able to say a word to her. She catches me looking at her often enough to get under my skin, too.

What if she doesn’t even smoke? I smell like an ashtray now that I’ve spent a few hours in the bar. I hate that part more than how much money I spend. It’s only $12.00 each week. It’s a small price to pay, but my hope is running out. I have no idea what else to try to put myself out there.

I’ve only ever seen her at the library one time. Outside of Wegmans, I know she goes to the library. That’s lame. I can’t just haunt the library waiting for her, can I? I only saw her there one time. What if she doesn’t read often at all? What if she’s only gone to the library once this whole time? Then again, you have to have a library card to rent a book…

I’m crazy. What am I doing, going to a bar every week hoping to see the woman of my dreams drop right into my lap. Every woman is taught to fear the bar. Rohypnol is a thing! I wish there was some way I could reach her without following her home or seeing her at the wine and beer store. It’s like she doesn’t have any habits that overlap with mine at all, even though I occasionally see her leaving a place I’m going to.

It’s maddening. If she’d just been there while I was there, I could ask her for her number. All she does is spend money! Where does she get the money? How does she have money to spend? Is she on S.S.I.?

That seems very likely. S.S.I. I wonder how she got on it. But if she is, how does she spend up to $100 a day in the grocery store daily? It doesn’t logic… not unless there were all kinds of food stamps on that card she uses. She buys such expensive food, too. How could there be so many foods tamps on that card? I did the math, if she spent on average $100 a day every day for the past four months, that’s more than $4,000.00. That’s insanity! Who has that much money for food?

Man, whatever it is she does do, I hope it’s not webcam work. I wouldn’t like it if that’s how she made all her money. I’d want her to be my girl. Just mine. It’s wrong of me to ask her to give up her livelihood for me, though. Someone already had that thought, someone who already enjoys the time of webcam girls, but he said he’d never seen her once, so that gives me hope. There aren’t that many webcam girl sites. He told me he gets bored because there aren’t enough new girls to look at… I hope it’s not webcam work. I just hope it’s not.

But if it’s not, what the hell does she do? Can anyone get that much S.S.I. and food stamps every month to spend all that money on food? It’s like $900 a month, maybe a little less. Although, lately, she’s been spending less and less. I feel like a stalker, listening to all my coworkers gossip about the unicorn lady. I shouldn’t know any of this shit, honestly. Should I even be thinking about her at all?

Probably not, but I can’t stop. I want to throw a tantrum about it, too. I want to kick rocks and scream and beat my fists against something. I have so much pent up energy to expend. It’s not fair! How is it that RAT FACE gets to give her a compliment?! I saw her first, I know I did. Rat face hasn’t been working at Wegmans as long as I have! I saw her in September!

In fact… we made eye contact. It was bizarre, that Monday morning. Something made me want to turn around, so I did, thinking if I was quick about it, I could at least quell my fear that I was being watched surreptitiously. I was being watched, though, by a woman with purple hair and a purple sweater. Her hair was almost black, but I could tell just barely it was actually purple. She had to have just dyed it.

She was a lovely vision, too. Once my eyes found hers, we just kept staring at each other for ages. Eventually she moved along, but I wished she hadn’t. I wish she’d said anything in that moment. Of course, she was wearing a face mask because the pandemic was in full swing, so I probably couldn’t have been able to tell… but I wanted anything other than her stare to tell me it was real. It was so quiet and surreal, overall.

It was many months before I saw her without a face mask, too. She wore it all the way up to the mandate coming down. A simple black face mask, a lot like my own. I like black. I like that she wears a lot of black, too, even in the middle of a heat wave. Black, purple, and red. All great colors. I kind of want to see her in green. I bet she looks great, no matter what color she’s wearing.

I don’t care what she’s wearing if she’ll smile at me. It’s like the Mona Lisa smile, except better. Her face lights up, her eyes sparkle and dance. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it for myself once. She was talking to herself, laughing, and having a grand old time shopping alone that day. I wonder if she has an invisible friend or something, really. Sansara.

I’ve even tried using Google with her name and nada. Nothing! It’s bust! I’m so upset, too, because I know she had a blog in January. I did find that. It was nuts, too, all over the place. Then one day it stopped working. There was just a page apologizing for the inconvenience of the blog disappearing. She was writing all kinds of recipes and stuff. At least, I think it was her.

She was hung up over a Wegmans deli man in that blog. I was hoping she’d write something that made it obvious it was me. And maybe she did and I just talked myself out of it because I was creeped out.

I really should have talked to her in Big Lots. Surely, by now, she could be in my arms. Surely we’d know each other well enough to sleep side by side. She seems out of this world lovely and I’m an idiot.

Tomorrow’s a new day. Maybe I’ll see her again. I hope so. I always feel better every time I see her and I don’t even know why. I think I might love her and I don’t even know her outside of her two names and her shopping habits. And her car covered in childish stickers. I hope she’s not too young for me. It would be awkward if she’s 22 like Jacob. That’s almost half my age. Sigh. Maybe that’s why I can’t find her… she’s too young to like doing anything I like doing.

Maybe I can find her at the beach instead of a bar.

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