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Demetrius and True Love


Demetrius stood still, transfixed by the beautiful woman in front of him. She was a unicorn, if there was ever a unicorn shape shifted into a female human. Just like in The Last Unicorn. He wondered if she’d ever seen that movie.

She was staring at him, but he had no idea why. He just decided to turn around, feeling an odd sensation. There she was, beautiful as any spring day. Her facial expression was neutral as she gazed at him from across the room. He’d expected her to look away or even look up to meet his gaze, but she was already staring where his eyes were… just at the back of his head.

The intense observation ended an eon later. Or maybe it was just five seconds. He found himself reliving the contact for more than two weeks, recalling the beautiful soul who had purple hair. Not just purple hair, but also a purple sweater. She was a vision, too. Her eyes had a glow of their own, or so it seemed, and her pale skin looked smooth. Her hair was teased like a horse’s mane, or so he thought, which is what made him think of unicorns to begin with.

He had a conundrum: his workplace, Wegmans, forbade him from fraternizing with the customers at random. Additionally, he worked in the very back of the store, behind the deli counter, and, most of the time, out of sight. It seemed unlikely he would ever meet her unless he could catch sight of her somewhere else. It was September 6th when that eye contact took place. A Monday. Somewhere around 10:30 AM, right before he took a break.

It haunted him for ages. He kept seeing the unicorn around the store. She was hard to miss with her wild riot of hair color. She sported pink hair before she dyed it purple. He’d seen a large variety of colors by now. It was already June 15th of the following year. He’d been aware of that maven for over nine months.

The unicorn kept staring at him, too, but he didn’t know why. She tried to catch his eye a few times after that September morning, and sometimes she succeeded. In fact, she had to be psychic or persistent or something because she’d see him when he least expected it. Sometimes, she came back to the deli just to look at him after she’d passed through once. It was a bit creepy, to say the least.

As Demetrius took promotion after promotion, he found himself out and about with the patrons of the store. She was still out there, occasionally bumping into him — almost literally, from time to time. Was she stalking him? He was worried about that, certainly, but she never really looked for him outside of the deli itself, it seemed. He watched her leave once or twice while he sat in the parking lot, wondering if she knew he was there. He parked on the opposite side of the lot from her. He wished she did know.

She never parked anywhere near the employees at all. She was oblivious to the fact they parked on the other side of the lot, he was sure of that. She shopped there damn near daily, but he’d only seen her himself a handful of times. Still, one of his coworkers had told him she was staring at him openly as she walked by and his back was turned to her once.

What was her game? Love?

He really needed to watch where he was going. He damn near collided with her just a week ago. He was minding his own business, straightening up the deli displays. Without thinking, he pivoted and she was right there. He thought she had to know it was him, but she didn’t even look at him. She was making a bee line to the sushi. He’d watched her surreptitiously whilst doing his job, wondering all the while.

She picked up a few different sushi roll packages to check the ingredients, he’d noticed. She put several back, too. She even took one home on that occasion, much to his surprise. He’d almost never seen her buy a damn thing from the deli, but she went through there like clockwork. She eyeballed just about everything, too. Everyone concurred that she was intensely interested in the packages of food, but rarely purchased anything.

The day she dyed her hair black was something else. At first, he thought she was stalking him and trying to go incognito, but he found out rather quickly that couldn’t be the case. She had these pink and black animal ears on a headband that she’d wear into the store occasionally. He had to admit it was cute as hell, but she was still creepy. She didn’t talk to anyone unless they talked to her first. Even the cashiers said so.

In fact a ton of people talked about her, including people who never even tried to talk to her. Demetrius was kind of mad to hear that his coworker got a chance to compliment her before he could even figure out what the hell she wanted from him. If anything. There could be another explanation, he supposed. Maybe she could see the number of the beast on his forehead or something else supernatural. She always seemed to be looking at his forehead or maybe even his eyes.

Nobody looked him in the eyes, though. They were too dark. People thought awful things about him, he learned over time, just because his peepers were nearly black. He’d been called terrible things all throughout his childhood just because of his eye color and he assumed (correctly) that adults did not really hold different opinions than those of superstitious children. His coworker teased him about having a girlfriend after he’d seen her openly gaping at him, but he didn’t believe it at all. Why would the unicorn look at him?

Nobody looked at him for very long. His eyes unsettled them, especially if he stared without smiling. That’s exactly what he did with that exotic beauty, but she didn’t seem to care. Shortly after their eyes met the first time, he’d been preparing buns for the day close to the deli counter. She’d come out of the produce section, her mother right behind her and she looked like she wanted to make eye contact with him. She was looking right at him and kind of dipped her head to encourage the eye contact, but he couldn’t bring himself to meet her gaze. He wish he had, though.

That wasn’t the only time he failed to reciprocate. Months later, he was checking the temperature of the soup. She came up at that exact moment, pretending to look at the sandwiches adjacent to him. He could tell she was watching him from the corner of his peripheral vision. There was no doubt in his mind at all… he just couldn’t bring himself to look up at her. He was so nervous about dispelling whatever magic made her take interest in him that he took the temperature of the soup three times. Why wasn’t she unsettled by his eyes like everyone else?

And now? She wouldn’t look at him anymore. Now he was out on the floor, able to mix and mingle, and she didn’t look at him at all. At least, not that he could tell. He thought for sure once he got out there, she’d do something to get his attention. In his mind, if he made an excuse to talk to her, he was as good as jobless. He didn’t mind the idea that she might be stalking him at work. In fact, sometimes he wished she’d find his place. He didn’t live very far away, at all… Around the corner from her house.

Everyone noticed she was actually rather unhappy as of late, so maybe she got herself a (bad) boyfriend. I’m absolutely certain that if she wanted a boyfriend, she had one. Then again, being a rainbow in motion, maybe she liked ladies. Either way, the assumption was that she was not on the market anymore (if she ever was.)

Maybe I missed my chance. Maybe she was never single. Maybe I misread her interest. I am positive she wanted to make eye contact with me all those times, but I resisted. I feel so fucking stupid for resisting it. She didn’t ever seem afraid of my eyes. She didn’t seem nervous. When she looked away the first time, it was demure and coquettish instead of instant rejection. So many people hate my eyes and I know it. I try not to stare because of that, honestly. I know it makes people uncomfortable. I don’t know why I thought she’d be uncomfortable making eye contact when it was obviously what she wanted.

She makes me feel shy. She’s just so… intense. She’s like life on full volume. Every time she waltzes through the store, everyone gets into a titter about what she does. She does some outlandish stuff. She’s danced around from time to time, depending what music was on over the loud speakers and how many people were in the store. The fewer people in the store, the more outlandish she becomes. She wears those ears — but not just those ears. She has other ears, too. She has crazy hats, though I’ve never seen them. She’s often laughing and smiling over nothing, as far as anyone can tell, and it’s pretty normal to see her talking to herself. “She’s a character” is the most popular thing I hear about her.

She seems to have an obsession with nuts. She’s bought like a thousand dollars worth of nuts this year alone, they swear up and down. All kinds, too. In the shell, shelled, mixed, singular types. I guess if we are what we eat, she’s nuts. She even buys nut milks and other stuff like that. I wish I could afford that. Don’t get me wrong, minimum wage can go quite a ways, but after housing expenses… there’s not much left. I want a vehicle someday, so I scrimp and save.

She bought a bunch of house plants, too. The cashiers kind of go mad over bagging plants, but it’s not her fault that bagging plants is so annoying. At least she puts them on at the very end, ordering everything on the conveyor belt so the cashier doesn’t have to think too hard about it. In fact, that’s their happiest moment half the time: when the unicorn lady chooses their line. They know she groups all of her items by type and how cold they are, leaving the light stuff like bread for the very end. That is, if she has time to load the belt properly. Once in a while, she’s disorganized and apologizes for it.

That floors them, I’ll tell you: this woman apologizes for making them do their job. Like seriously, what planet is she from? Why is she apologizing to a peon? She’s gotta be someone special, buying ridiculous amounts of bison and nuts and other expensive things. So what makes her apologize to a mere cashier? They talk about that, like they aren’t even people, but I get what they mean.

They think she’s one of the nicest people that comes through this store. I’ve seen her just stand still for minutes at a time simply because the person in front of her is taking time getting their food and she can’t go around. They turn to her, saying something, and she smiles at them and replies. They rarely hurry off from her even though she waits.

I saw her once outside of work. Well, more than once. The first time I saw her outside of work was at Big Lots. It was Halloween, so it’s real easy to remember it. She wasn’t wearing her ears or anything, but her hair was still purple and parted like a horse’s mane. She was talking to herself, I think. I heard her call herself Sansara. She donated to the food bank while they were doing a silly promotion for a $100 grocery gift card and she signed as Sansara Solsinger, actually.

She was sitting down on a chair when I made eye contact with her. I couldn’t help but look at her from the side of my eye. I don’t think she recognized me. She returned my gaze serenely. Her eyes were dancing; she had to be smiling when it happened. Everyone talks about that, too. Her eyes dance with life when she smiles and she always smiles at the cashier. Well, except lately. I think she might be on hard times, but I don’t know for sure.

Anyway, if I’d known I’d never get another chance to talk to her after that Big Lots moment, I would have struck up a conversation with her, I think. I would have at least said hello. As it was, she flirted with the scruffy looking clerk who was ringer her up at Big Lots that day, carrying a conversation as he scanned every item much more slowly than he needed to. I’d gotten into line at that point and even heard her phone number, which started with a different area code than the local one. It was close to the local one, though, and the clerk had to re-key it because he misheard her.

That info came in handy when some ass hat I worked with claimed to get her phone number earlier this year. He had no idea I had some insider info and, if I was a creeper, I could have taken down her phone number while I stood around to check out. Anyway, when I challenged him to show me her contact info, he couldn’t. I only needed to see the area code to know if he was lying or not, but he crumbled quickly and admitted he lied. He didn’t last long after that happened. I imagine he died of embarrassment, thinking no one would fact check him.

I wondered what that Big Lots clerk had that I didn’t. He was a silver fox after a fashion and his hair was quite long. Longer than mine by at least a foot. So I grew mine longer. Maybe that was why she openly stared at me that day when my back was turned to her. My pony tail was much, much longer. I don’t think she really knew it was me with my back turned to her. How could she?

The other time I saw her outside of Wegmans was near Honey Baked Ham. My dad and I were going to pick up a ham for Christmas, as is the tradition in the family for years now, and she was there. She was praying in the parking lot. She was stuck behind some dude outside the store next door; he had his four ways on to load the vehicle with whatever he’d bought. Against all odds, she saw me looking at her, too. I was just finishing putting on my mask because COVID and all, so all she could see were my eyes. I thought about her all Christmas week because of that. She was in her car, praying. I mean, that’s what it looked like. What else could it be? Not to mention I saw her beautiful face for the very first time that evening. I damn near swooned.

I wondered for weeks after that where she’d just been. There were five stores in that area. I wondered and I wondered. I’ve come to decide that she must have been to the JoAnn Fabrics store next to Honey Baked Ham because she’s crafty.

I’m also starting to think she has mysterious allergies, what with all the label checking. She looked at the ingredients labels of each and ever tortilla package there was. It must have taken her at least twenty minutes to compare them all. Nobody does that. Nobody without allergies, anyway.

A few months ago, she cut off her mane and dyed it black. You’d think that’d make her less attractive and maybe it did, but she was still pretty. I think she could do just about anything with her hair and still be beautiful. I wondered for a while if she was going to imitate Britney and shave it off. She is a Britney herself, really. Not that I mean she looks like Britney, she’s just as pretty as Britney. She’s like the Goth version of Ms. Spears. Funny, I know.

Now that I’ve mentioned that, though… what the hell does she want with me? It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m no looker. I can’t compete with anyone for that amount of pretty thrown my direction. That’s why when my coworker teased me about her being my girlfriend, I just couldn’t do anything but gape at him. What? Me?! Since when? Everyone thinks my eyes are creepy and unsettling.

Everyone but her. She’s not afraid to look me in the eyes. She’s fierce and maybe even flawless. I could look at her every day and then some. I try to, actually. I know she comes through here, most of the time while I’m on duty, and I try to keep an eye out for her. I don’t usually get to see her, but once in a while, she’ll be standing somewhere as if God put her there just to look me in the eyes again. Against all odds, she will be standing near the frozen fish or the wine counter and then our eyes meet. It’s serendipity. I still wonder if I’ve got the mark of the beast and if she prays for my immortal soul because of it. Someone said that once to me as a child.

I mean, what if she is a nun? Someone put that idea out there once. (It was me, actually.) We wonder about her all the time. I guess we don’t have anything better to do. She had an online blog that someone found and shared around. She referenced Wegmans in copious amounts, talking about a deli man with mesmerizing eyes. She had some recipes, too. The one I got to try, I loved. I tried her masala chai recipe and it was to die for. I didn’t drink it the same way she did, but it was tasty my way.

Right after that, her blog was gone. There was nothing there to go back to one day. It made me quite sad, actually. I thought maybe if she kept writing about me (at least, I think it was me) then I’d know for sure if it was me or not and then I could reach out and tell her who I am online. How easy could that be? I was foolishly waiting for a reason to say it wasn’t me. Nothing she wrote made me doubt it was me. In fact, the opposite. The more I read it, the more I was convinced. She was into me, she had to be.

I regret not taking my chances. I regret not just IMing her when she published her Discord info on that blog. I could have at least ruled out that she was the unicorn lady at my Wegmans. I couldn’t believe it was her, really, because that blog was real funny. That would mean that not only is she incredibly beautiful, but she was also damn funny. And definitely not a nun, although she talked about God as if she knew him. She used too much vulgarity to be a nun.

She struggled quite a lot, if that was her blog. Apparently, she’s not quite able-bodied and ended up shoveling a ton of snow because the person her parents paid didn’t do the job at all. He shoveled the driveway and up to the front porch from the street, as I recall. That’s a shit job by anyone’s standards. And then she said they paid that douche bag $80.00 for that job. I would have shoveled however much snow that was for $80.00. I’ve since found out it’s a corner lot. That’s pretty easy for a strapping young lad as myself, but for a disabled lady? Holy shit, Batman. That’s insanity.

And then it snowed more and more and she posted how she struggled to shovel it up. She didn’t really complain, she just bitched about it briefly before moving on. She had said her hip was dislocated. I can’t even imagine how much it must hurt to shovel so much snow with that kind of injury to work with. Then again, she wrote how she’d twisted her ankle and never ended up on crutches, too. That was about a month before it began to snow.

She must have an insane pain tolerance. Or she’s a liar. I don’t think she’s a liar, though. I’ve seen her gait. It’s not right. Her hips don’t sway like most peoples’ do. They haven’t this whole time, except maybe once recently. She’s always moving around, doing some sort of yoga when she’s standing still. In fact, I even heard about her going to the library and doing yoga there while she browsed for like an hour. It’s so weird.

I thought about trying to coincide with her at the library many times now. I’ve even gone once or twice, but no dice. It’s like she’s almost nowhere, yet everywhere. Every time I turn around, someone is talking about her but she’s never there. Hell, even some douche bag who put new door knobs on her house came into the bar talking about how the legendary goddess wore pajamas and put together a jigsaw puzzle while she made food that smelled like grandma’s cooking. (As if her looking amazing wasn’t enough, and being funny wasn’t enough, now you have to take into consideration it at least smelled like she can cook and that she just sits around all day sipping coffee in her pajamas.)

It turns out a lot of people have some sort of exposure to her. Some of her neighbors come into that bar, buzzing with excitement to the bartender about the loveliest woman they’ve ever set their eyes on. They start with her colorful hair and then I know the rest every time… I’ve learned so much about her second hand, it’s preposterous. I even know where she lives now because people just blurt it out, like nobody is going to go down to her place and just stalk her.

She plastered the ass end of her car with stickers at one point, like she was making herself a bullseye. A target. Batman stickers, Superman stickers, Teen Titans, Spongebob Squarepants, Red Bull, Cat Dog, Spiderman, and so many others. If she honestly likes all that stuff… that’s just another layer of perfection. People even noticed her wearing shirts with the Joker on it, Rob Zombie, and TMBG. All super cool shit, if you ask me. However, she’s so easy to stalk… I don’t know how she’s still safe!

Funny. Beautiful. Smart as a whip, if that’s her blog. Smart enough to be completely easy to stalk and still safe! Into superheroes and even GI Joe. Full of life and owning a smile that few can even come close to comparing to. And she looked at me, you guys. At least, she used to.

I had to have done something wrong. I was so excited to get out onto the main floor twice a day, thinking I’d bump into her — although, not literally — and she’d talk to me. I’m afraid to talk to her first, I admit, since my job could be on the line if I do. All she has to do is complain and I’m fired. On the other hand, one of my coworkers complimented her on her choker and she didn’t say a word to anyone. The same guy told her she had a cool shirt once months before that — a Triforce t-shirt, actually — and she didn’t say anything about that, either. I’m so jealous of that guy getting to speak to her. Getting the chance to compliment her. I want that to be me.

He said she smiled at him. I happen to know both from experiencing it that her smile is infectious and that jerk didn’t smile the rest of the day. It was very unlikely he earned one of those stellar looks. Everybody says it makes them feel warm inside, like everything is right in life. They often have a great day after that, like she’s a magical unicorn. My Halloween was certainly like that. And my Christmas, too, actually. And every time I’d seen her in my youth, actually.

I’ve even seen her sitting outside in the cold, drinking wine by herself on her front porch. I wish I had the balls to stop and say hello, but I don’t. I don’t want to make her uncomfortable, telegraphing that I know where she lives. I don’t want her to ask me the other question, either, which is: what the fuck took you so long? As if she’d been waiting around for me all this time. As if she’s a honey trap set specifically for me.

Hardly! Except… the only dudes I’ve ever seen on her property are old and grey. Her father and their neighbor, Mike. Sometimes I see them sitting and smoking on the porch together. I’ve never seen her smoke, though I could swear from Big Lots she had a pack-a-day kind of voice, deep and gravelly. I’ve been disabused of this notion since then, though… Several cashiers have said they wished she narrated audio books. I wonder why her voice was so hoarse that day that I overheard her.

Hot damn! She’s gotta be perfect! Funny, smart, beautiful, a “voice like velvet,” a winning smile, she’s kind as hell, patient as can be, into everything cool — including the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She’s a gamer and she can cook something that smells like grandma’s cooking. AND she’s a BAKER! She bought so much baking crap this past January, nobody could believe it.

Is she an angel? Is she real?! Where did she come from? Nobody has any recollection of her before October at the store, even though I noticed her in September. I swear I’ve seen her before in my youth, though. I’d just started my job there. It’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, regarding hours, pay, and benefits. That’s why I don’t want to lose it trying to talk to a woman like that, but I might go out on a limb anyway. If she ever looks at me again, that is.

She’s walked past me several times now at the store without so much as trying to look at me. I’m dying inside bit by bit, thinking I’ve somehow driven her away from me completely. Everyone wants to be around her as much as possible, really. Even the returns clerks thought she was cordial and kind. It’s like that’s her. That’s the real woman under there.

A lot of people thought she was super young when she had the rainbow hair. They figured that because not too many jobs let you wander around being an inspiration to bees and butterflies everywhere. She looks like she could be real young, too. I was hard pressed to find wrinkles any time I looked, to be honest, and so are most people. She can’t be a teenager, though, because she’s bought wine on several occasions now. And I could have sworn to you twenty five years ago, she appeared older than me.

I think I should talk to her the next chance I get, but this past week, she’s been coming in super late. Like store-closing kind of late. I almost met her once when I decided to go to the store to buy myself a little something. I didn’t realize it until it was too late… I used self-checkout so I could go scope out which line she’d gotten into and mill around, but she was using self-checkout that day. The woman almost always checks out with a cashier! I don’t understand it at all. I was intent to talk to her, too.

But that takes me back to her being a psychic. She saw me near Honey Baked Ham, which she couldn’t have done without looking for me, if you ask me. She sees me in the back, meeting my gaze (albeit infrequently) from odd places, she was at Big Lots when I decided to go on a whim. I don’t know what else to do… it’s not working, though. If she is psychic, she’s playing a game with me…

I’ve thought about looking for her at the beach. I heard from a friend that he’s seen her car there on Friday mornings. The sticker bombed back end stands out all over town, trust me on that. It’s super obvious. I’ve even heard people bitch about her going the speed limit, even when she’s in the “fast lane,” though the roads where that happens aren’t highways. I don’t know where they get off saying that, honestly. Everyone used to see her going up and down Peach Street, actually, but that’s rarer these days. She must use the highway to get here now. She goes the speed limit on the highway, too, I heard. She stays in the right lane so everyone can pass her easily.

I’ve even heard she feeds the birds sometimes. I’ve gone to that area of town, too, hoping to see her. I never do, sadly. I heard she went down there about 3:30 in the afternoon when that happened, so sometimes I go on my day off, hoping to catch a glimpse of her. I haven’t heard of her feeding the birds since winter ended, though, and I’ve never seen her in action. I guess it makes sense since there’s plenty of food around in summer time.

I have no idea what else she might do with her time. I like to spend mine reading, mostly. Sometimes I watch a movie or something. Obviously, my life is beyond exciting. Nobody knows anything about me to tell her, so I can’t hope for that to magically create a connection. I’m starting to think about going to that bar that my coworker goes to, but on the other hand… it’d probably trigger me to smoke more and she’s never been herself. I’m trying to quit and I have been for years now. I’ve gotten down to half a pack a day on most days, less even. I feel pretty good about that. But the Red Fox Inn has indoor smoking and is one of the last bars to still have it and I just know I’ll end up smoking more.

Maybe dad will let me borrow his car this Friday so I can check out the beach in the morning. She’s been seen there every Friday for almost a month now. Someone saw her filming the wildlife… this crazy albino duck was sort of flirting with her as she stretched on the pier. Instead of sitting there on her phone, though, she was taking in her surroundings. In the moment. That certainly appeals to me. I’ve seen so many people outside just keep their faces in their phone, like there is nothing amazing to look at. In fact, that’s why my dad’s friend really took note of her: she wasn’t acting like a child. She was there to appreciate nature all around her. In fact, he saw her take a video of just the water lapping at the shore, he thought.

She sounds so chill on top of everything. I imagine if I do catch her at the pier this Friday — I hope I can get up early enough to be there before she leaves — that we can just have a conversation like it was always destined to be. Like nothing was amiss and she was waiting for me to show up the whole time. Like she wants me to come find her. I sure hope so… because if she doesn’t, this could end very badly. She could accuse me of stalking her and get me fired. I have my fingers crossed, though, because I can try waiting for her to come to me to make sure that’s what she wants: a conversation with me.

I still have no idea why. She could be with anyone. Anyone at all! I’m no Justin Timberlake or Colin Farrell. I’m praying I’ve read this situation correctly, you guys. I hope you’ll pray for me, too. I really don’t want to lose my job. With my luck, I’ll borrow the car and it’ll be a day she never goes. It’ll be good to be outside, though, so I’m trying to keep upbeat and positive about it.

I find it interesting that she separates herself from the crowds. She could go to the swimming beaches, but she doesn’t. It reminds me of someone I’ve seen before a few times. In fact, I’m convinced she’s the girl I used to see at Archon while waiting for people to show up to play Warhammer 40k. I saw her again, later, when she was on tour of East High. She has the same smile she always did, a lop-sided grin that warms the soul. She used that smile on me weekly for months. I always thought she was vastly older than me at the time because she’d become fully developed and I hadn’t just yet. I was still a little bean pole.

We cannot be that far apart in age, though. In fact, I realize she’s younger than I am because of that East High tour. It was middle school kids coming in to view the campus. She had long, long golden waves of hair. Now, she doesn’t, but then? Whew. She wore that massive amount of hair in a braid or in a cloud of waves. It was the longest hair I’d ever seen at the time and it was such a pretty color. I wonder now if she dyes her hair because she’s gone gray. That would make sense. Or maybe she’s just bored… that crossed my mind, too. Or maybe it’s psychological and makes her happier to look at it that way. Regardless of all that, I miss her rainbow locks and asymmetrical haircut. Though, I noticed she has the asymmetrical haircut back. Her hair is much longer in the front than the back, or it had been until about two months ago when she cut it off.

Wish me luck! I’m dying to meet her and I have very little hope of being able to do so.


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