He saw her again, he thought. A brief glimpse of her, anyway. A mass of messy hair — what color was it? Hard to say, it was so brief. It almost looked ash gray to him. Old. A color an old person would have in their hair.
How old was she? At the same time, he finally caught what her purple sweatshirt was for: The Royals. A local sports ball team. Was she recently graduated from high school? Did she have a kid in high school? Did she just like purple?
This created more noise in his head than it answered. He literally could not determine her age. She could be jail bait or she could be a young grandmother and he’d never know the difference just by looking at her. The one thing he could say for certain is that she didn’t dress up like she was going out on a date hardly ever.
It was so strange that their eyes kept meeting. It was so brief and somehow it burned itself into his brain. The image of her walking past, looking neutral as usual, was seared into memory and kept popping up like an unwanted sock in the laundry. Who was she? How was it that they always happened to see each other?
Well, maybe it wasn’t always since he’d gone about a week without her trundling by with a mini cart. Maybe she saw plenty of him and he didn’t always see her. He’d felt bad, though… he thought she might be shy, so he tried to stop gazing upon her so directly to see what happened. It turned out, she stopped coming around. That’s what happened.
It must be sending the wrong message.
He’d been hoping to see the woman with the choker and the leather jacket again, wearing the bold red lipstick. He never did since the day he told her he liked her choker. But then… this woman showed up in a choker not that long ago. And these bizarre pink ear things on her head, too. It made me think of that other woman, but the choker wasn’t exactly the same.
She looks vastly different than the woman I paid that compliment to, but it’s been nagging me subtly in the back of my mind. Not very many people wear chokers with spikes on them at all. Just because this woman’s choker was different didn’t mean she wasn’t the same woman. She could own a whole plethora of chokers that I know nothing about, couldn’t she?
The intrigue is there. I hate to admit it, but after catching her eye so many times… it’s time to give up on that black haired babe and maybe pursue something new. Make space for someone else to take up my brain power, to occupy my time. I couldn’t even begin to hope they are the same woman; they look so radically different to me. Still, where did the woman with the choker go? She came in two days in a row, then poof. She was gone. It was like my compliment on her necklace drove her into the abyss.
I thought I’d seen her a few times since then but it never turns out to be that same exact woman. Maybe she was only in town for a few days and that is that. Just a fleeting glimpse of a beautiful woman. A ten out of ten and then just gone. Maybe even an eleven.
The woman that I keep seeing instead of her, well. I don’t think it’s right to compare two women at all, everyone is different. I just don’t know what to say because I’d really hoped to meet the first woman again and have another chance to pay her a compliment or even maybe break the rules and ask her out on a date.
“Now wait a fucking minute there, son,” he thinks to himself.
I just remembered something stupid.
My brain is about to EXPLODE.
The woman with the choker has the exact same expression as this other woman eyeballing me all the time. (To be fair, it goes both ways.) Are they the same person? It’s almost like watching Superman and never knowing Clark Kent is the Supes. If this woman is both… Gulp.
If she is the woman I paid the compliment to… Man, I’ve wasted a lot of time. If I was her, I’d want to kick me in the balls for making her wait half a year. In fact, I don’t think I’d forgive me at all if I was her. Here I am, pining after one version of her when the other version is right there, staring me in the face. Locking stare for stare, actually.
And now that I think about it… I know for a fact the other day she saw me smile and she couldn’t help but smile back. She looked away, embarrassed to be seen, I thought.
I created a stupid mess. She’s got to be the same woman… it’s the same mouth, the same expression. Aware, mostly peaceful (maybe). Neutral. She is neither happy nor sad… It’s the same.
I’m so ashamed of myself. I could go smash my head against the wall until I black out. This is… Sigh. I might be getting ahead of myself. Still, it’s jacket weather again… If she shows up in that bombshell black leather jacket, I’m going to die. I’m literally going to turn myself into someone, somewhere, and tell them to smack me around until the sense returns.
If she’s the same person, I could have tried to make a move months ago.
She never comes in with anyone else. Ever. Neither woman did. And even worse, I now realize that she was there even before she cut her hair and dyed it black. Yes… it has to be her. She disappeared the same length of time that the other one showed up, I think. She comes into this stinking store every goddamn day, alone, eyeballing me with a neutral expression.
How can I interpret that any other way than, “I heard you, now what?”
I have no idea what to do now that I’m feeling ashamed about it. I guess there is nothing I can do to make it wash away, the fact will always stand: I couldn’t accept her as wildly beautiful in the format she prefers to present herself because I was too obsessed with “my type.” I was looking for a woman that looks like every woman I ever dated before and that’s massively stupid. I’m stupid. A dimwit. An asshole, too.
I let this narrow-minded view of what beauty is to cloud my perception. I’ve been passing up a wonderful woman all this time just because she doesn’t look like she might kick my ass after she bites my head off, basically, for daring to look at her too closely. I guess that’s one of those patterns my therapist warned me about falling into…
That guy never seems to understand how it feels to pine away for a woman that just isn’t there anymore. I caught a glimpse of her once upon a time and it made me quiver and my knees turned to jelly and then gone. I don’t think he’s ever met a woman who made his knees go weak, or if he did it was so long ago he can’t remember what that’s like.
He keeps going on about how I need to take care of myself and let her come to me. He tells me that she knows where I work, so the ball is in her court. But if Super Babe is this woman in the Royals sweatshirt… Jesus Christ, I’m dense. I want to smash my head against the desk until it clears. Until words come to me to apologize to her, because I feel obligated to tell her why I didn’t chase her now.
“I’m sorry, I was bent out of shape over another version of you and I couldn’t get you out of my head as that version of you and…”
I guess it’s not so bad since it was her all along, but still. I’m an asshole. She changes her hair color constantly… why didn’t I see black coming? Why didn’t I put together she might’ve chopped it off? Why didn’t I see this bus that just hit me?
I should be at the bottom of a train wreck for shying away from her just because I fixated on one single version of her. I bet she wears that jacket soon and proves me a dumbass… and what am I going to do? I saw The Beard staring her down and she walked dangerously close to him. He never seems to get in trouble, talking to the people who are walking by. It’s obvious to anyone watching he’s flirting it up. He cares more about pussy than his paycheck. And yet, he’s still here. Has he charmed the manager somehow? Is the manager just not looking?
I don’t like how close he was to Super Babe today. I know he just went out there to check the island of dinner food. I know it! And she walked right by that island, too. Ever since she smiled at me — about ten days ago — I’ve been wondering how to get that smile aimed at me much more often.
Like a fumbling teenager, I keep wondering what the first steps are, as if I’ve never even been in a relationship before. It’s all brand new to me all over again and, finally, I understand Like A Virgin by Madonna. She met someone who made her feel inadequate, in just one word. She had to have. In fact, if you listen to even more of her music in that era, you might come to the conclusion that she had an incredible crush on an older man.
I guess the reason I’m obsessing over this woman’s age — and I am, even though I didn’t write it all down — is because I’m worried I’m too old for her. I’m not really worried about her being too old for me, though I did project that on to her at the beginning of this writing. I shouldn’t do that… that’s my worry. If she is eighteen and into me, it doesn’t matter, so long as we both want to make it work. If she’s twenty, twenty five, twenty nine (hah), or really any number up to forty-five… I think it could work. Hell, fuck it, why put a cap on it? Who fucking cares if she’s even fifty-five or sixty? She looks great and I want to be with her.
I want to be with her.
That hurts me to admit because I don’t know what she wants. If I could have that level of transparency, then I could make the choice with the snap of my fingers. I’d envelop her with my arms and pull her close and, if she would allow it, bury my face against her neck, inhaling deeply to see what she smells of.
Garlic and onions come to mind, oddly enough. When I walked past her in the bakery area months ago, I remember smelling garlic and onions. She smelled like old school cooking, the kind grandma would do for family get-togethers. I didn’t really expect that, considering she’s a fine lady with everything that matters where it ought to be, which is partly why I recall it so easily. A woman who smells like my grandmother’s cooking… now that sounds like PTSD waiting to happen.
My grandmother was an amazing woman herself. What if I project onto this lady all the things I felt (non-romantically speaking) about my grandmother and my relationship with her as someone who came around to eat her amazing cooking as often as possible, really? What if in my head it seems like it’ll all work out and then reality comes and hits me like a freight train? What if it could work out?
I’m agonizing over a lot of points that will never matter if I never figure out how to say hello. I feel like I should try to stand out from the crowd, but if I really think about it… I already did that. She is absolutely looking me in the eye every chance she gets. That is actual, factual information I have to go on. She absolutely smiled at me, like she didn’t mean to, and looked away embarrassed. I didn’t dream that up, not like the angel shit that keeps actually coming to me in my dreams. Lavender wings and all.
What is real? I don’t know so much anymore, outside of these facts.
Fact: I paid her (choker woman) a compliment.
Fact: A woman keeps eyeballing me, day in and day out, unless I do something stupid to discourage the eye contact.
Fact: These two women have the same facial expression — their mouths are set exactly the same. IF she is the same woman, she looks radically different than when I paid her the compliment, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
Fact: Choker girl smelled of garlic and onions.
Fact: Rainbow girl also smelled of garlic and onions.
Fact: I like both women, if they are two, and I hope they are the same woman.
Fact: I have been avoiding saying hello to Rainbow Girl, holding out for Choker Woman. If they are the same, I’m a fool.
Fact: I’m dreaming about the Rainbow Girl saving my soul.
Fact: I miss seeing the Rainbow Girl. I hope she returns to the store while I’m working, even if it’s just for a cursory glance.
Fact: I’m jealous of the idea of someone else talking to her first, especially The Beard(TM), but I have to realize she most likely has admirers everywhere she goes. Where else does she go?
Fact: I’m stuck in the back all the time now and it sucks because I want to ask her out. I should have foreseen this, but of course, I didn’t realize how much I wanted to ask her out until today.
Fact: She could still say no and all of this could just be happenstance and I made shit up in my head to convince me I have a chance with an ethereally beautiful woman.
Fact: I wouldn’t mind her smiling at me again, not one bit, and I don’t mean in my dreams.
Fact: I need to start going places to see if I bump into her. Maybe Zoo Boo? But what are the chances of us going the same exact time or night? It would cost a fortune to hang out there every night just on the hope I’d see her there, but I don’t know what else to do. This is all based on her wearing those pink animal ears one time, too…
Fact: The mall has an animal store with live pets… He bites his lip. Could she work there? Could he maybe find her there after work tomorrow? If not, at least it’s free to go to the mall, and it’s only a few minutes away…
Fact: The Royals sweatshirt came from a rival grocery store and I know it… so that means she’s been into one of those grocery stores as well as here. How? Why? What took her to another store? Doesn’t she come to Wegmans every day? Maybe she doesn’t… does she know my days off somehow?
Fact: A lot of times, we make eye contact when there seems to be no chance of it in hell.
Fact: I’ve seen her while coming off or going on break a few times, maybe I’ll catch her sometime. In fact, I just saw her for three different breaks, but that was before she went away and made me realize I love seeing her come through the store and making those few seconds of eye contact from across the room.
Fact: I’m crazy. And horny. Is this clouding my judgment?
Fact: I am almost certain she has to be older than 18… I’ve seen her in the store during school hours several times. Also, wouldn’t a younger person end up bringing her parent(s) into the store? I guess I’m assuming too much, thinking her parents must be alive. Still… what age is she? Why am I obsessed with it? “Because it kind of tells you where a person is during their journey of life,” he hears echoing in his brain. Sigh.
Fact: I feel like shit for not realizing all of this sooner. I bet she’d already be in my arms if I just tried. Or at least, we’d be conversing, and eventually she’d end up there. I hope. I certainly dream of it happening enough that I’m convinced this could turn out positively… Still, it’s tempting to wait until I can talk to my therapist again for a sanity check. Then again, that guy doesn’t know what it’s like to see an angel staring at him. I don’t know why I keep calling her an angel, but I do. Every time she walks through the store and I see her, my day gets better. That was before I even thought about the possibility that the attraction could be mutual.
Fact: I don’t know a damn thing about her until I talk to her. Ain’t that the truth? Who said that, though? Was it me? Was it her? I swear I can hear somebody other than myself in my head from time to time… outrageous shit like calling asparagus “asparagi” (like fungi.) I would never say something so outright silly. Supposedly, just an hour ago or so, she made herself two turkey burgers (on accident — she wanted beef burgers), threw some fake cheese between them, a bunch of “asparagi” and a whole avocado. I’ve never even tried avocado, to my knowledge, and yes I am aware it’s the main ingredient in guacamole. Then God suggested I try guacamole if I was interested because that’s how most people eat it (and picking a perfectly ripe avocado is hard and it matters.)
Actually, on that topic, it sounds to me like she and God are like two peas in a pod. They talk back and forth pretty much constantly and I’m at a loss as to why they are being quiet now, other than maybe I tuned out somehow just like I tuned in somehow.
In fact, if she is in my head, she’s been eyeballing a bunch of boys all around town. Now I feel like this is my fault because if I’d just followed up on my compliment, we could be together… if she wanted to be together, I mean. She’s enigmatic. I asked her what she thought about me and she told me, “My answer isn’t what you want to hear!” and I thought “oh no, she thinks I’m an ugly skunk!” except that wasn’t it, either. She said, “I’m demisexual, which means I fall in love with traits, not bodies.” She was right. That is not what I’d thought I’d hear from her at all… and it’s not something I’d make up, either. I looked it up — demisexuality is a real thing. I didn’t know about it until she mentioned it, though. In fact, she mentioned a bunch of shit I don’t know and once I checked Google out, I found out that they’re all real.
She mentioned there was a body builder guy at Sam’s Club she might see if she ended up going there tomorrow. I thought she was being a jerk to me because, obviously, I’ve been a jerk to her, but she wasn’t. There is legitimately a dude there with sculpted abs, apparently. Never been, so I can’t fact check that part, but maybe some day I will… anyway, she said she wasn’t into him because God said that some day he’d cheat on her. That was after she listed off all the positive non-body reasons she had to be attracted to him! She said his body was proof that he could set a goal and achieve it. Well, yeah, okay, I can definitely see that. She mentioned a lot of traits that go with something like that, too, which all seemed really positive. Yet, that one little detail — that he would not stay faithful to her — completely put him in the trash bin for her.
She did tell me she was in it for “true love.” She even yelled at me a bit for wanting something other than to be loved. I feel like an ass… I was trying to bring up sex and God admonished me: she cares more about food because it’s 3x more likely to be applicable on a daily basis and wants to know if we eat all the same foods. At least, I think it was God… I can’t tell the difference between them, per se, other than she tends to talk either like a five year old (for amusement’s sake) or has some joke or another to tell me.
In fact, I just remembered one of them. “What did one coconut say to another?”
God said, “Give him a moment, he’ll get it.” But before I could go squirrel too far in the wrong direction, she stage whispered, “They’re nuts, get it?” I’m grateful, because man did it sound dirty for a minute there and she literally just said she didn’t care about sex as much as she cared about food!
And another thing she said that really made me guffaw was, “Red camouflage… you see that stuff?” I agreed I had. “Is that for hiding in lava?” I cannot even. IN lava?! What is she? A GAMER?!
Now wait a minute… that would be downright exciting. [HOT AS HELL is what he means, folks.] Wait a minute, the peanut gallery is back… is she listening to me journal right now? I bet she is… so she’s an eavesdropper. I guess there had to be a drawback somewhere, other than her track record of being raped… I seriously don’t know how to deal with that, but it absolutely answers the question of why she’s suicidal and doesn’t give a shit about herself.
She doesn’t see what I see, clearly, he says, tongue-in-cheek, since she might be metaphorically lurking over his shoulder right. now. “What do you see?” he asks himself since she didn’t. “Well, Crystal, I see a wonderful and enigmatic woman (or perhaps lady might be a better word) who has nothing better to do than eyeball me as she goes to the grocery store every single day. What the hell is with that?”
“How else do you shop for a husband?” she asked him.
Excuse me while I find my jaw, which I dropped somewhere over here. A what? A husband? You want to be tied down by a man? “No, I want to be tied up, but that has nothing to do with your question.” He made a sound of anguish just then, because either his brain is making up great repartee or there’s an amazing woman on the other side of some amazing quips that are, essentially, curve balls. Oh snap, she knows the sports balls, y’all!
Maybe if I shut up, she’ll type some more with me.
Maybe… She tries to think of a good joke that she herself wrote. “What’s the square root of ketchup?!” I’ll let you ruminate on that one for a while.
MMkay, so I was born a long, long time ago in a galaxy excitingly close by. You might know it as The Milky Way. I was born on the planet called Earth, or Gaia if you will… I never liked the word Earth much to name the planet because we’re basically calling it Dirt. In fact, what if the spacelings have a translation accident and they put our planet in the universal directory as Dirt? How embarrassing would that be?
How long ago, you minx?
Oooh, you used the M word… MARRY ME!” He nods, y’all. HE NODS! He’s MINE! I’m not sharing, either. And I am his, too. Now if only this was real, she thought, since it was about the millionth time she asked him to marry her.
Anyway! Long enough ago, is the answer, to have as much fun as I want. Such as… eating (dairy-free) (sugar-free) ice cream for breakfast! Mmm. Ice cream. While I’m at it… why don’t we have a sugar-free, dairy-free creamer, y’all? COME ON, SILK! Get with the program!
I’m old enough to go to jail. I’m old enough to drink in a bar or buy liquor in a store. I’m old enough to enjoy marijuana in legal states that have age restrictions. I’m old enough to remember a lot of music and a love of video games and a lot of books (okay maybe not so many books, I had an accident that wiped a lot of memory), and so on and so forth.
I’m old enough to rock out to It’s My Party or I Fought the Law (and the law won!) or how about Play That Funky Music? Or how about Bad to the Bone? Or maybe, just maybe… Torn? Seven Nation Army? I Love It? How about Blinding Lights? Or how about this other surprise from the ’20s? Or perhaps a little bit of this or that.
I’m old enough to decide to settle down, too. But if I only get to choose one more person for the rest of my life, I better make it a good choice, right? So God, good guy that he is, gave me telepathy so I can pick the absolute right guy for me… and so far, it’s looking like you. There is only a little bit of other people that I like that I’ve heard from…
But you? You speak your mind. You don’t hide it, leaving long, open silences. I happen to be autistic and I need to be told things point blank. I don’t understand “the obvious” that all other human beings simply “get.” I wasn’t born with the manual on how to be backwards like the rest of you… I hope you’ll forgive me for calling you all backwards, for having emotions that you respond to without thinking about life, the universe, and everything first.
So many people think controlling another person is love. To me, it’s pure hatred. You’re telling me that I’m not an adult, I cannot see the flaws in myself and work on them, I cannot choose how to grow in a good way that is awesome and amazing… you know what is best and I know nothing whatsoever. That is the message I receive when someone tries to control me. It used to make me defiant and sarcastic and mean, now I just walk away. No, thank you. That’s not love… that’s telling me I can only be loved if I fit into your narrow-minded criteria instead of being myself.
I prefer being myself because when I am myself, I can find peace. And since peace is healing and life is a journey to be healed, I value that. That means, ultimately, I must value myself over every man I’ve ever tried to partner with. I let them go, like wild animals, and they always come back to a few key things:
- Raping me.
- Cheating on me.
- Treating me like garbage.
- Belittling me.
- Controlling me.
Well, since I’m just garbage to them, I throw myself away and start a new journey. Except they can’t seem to accept it. They are always here in this new telepathic life I’m living, they are always hurting me. They’re always trying to control me because I defer to God and sometimes they figure out how to impersonate God and make choices to try to kill me. In fact, they relish in the idea that I want to die, because if they can’t have me, no one will!
This is not love. I don’t know what kind of bullshit you all learned from your mothers, but didn’t they tell you to spread your wings and soar and just wait for you to come back? A bird, caged, knows nothing of love without also tasting complete freedom.
At any rate, I threw them all into a metaphorical vat of healing acid and hope to hell they never come back, except they continue to make peeps here and there, and I have zero patience for them… so why don’t you meet me somewhere like the waterfront on your next day off? Then I can know I’m not just crazy, then I can know you hear me and I hear you… not just a handful of asshats that try to harm me because they don’t have the privilege of controlling me up close and personal. Narcissistic assholes, every last one of ’em.
Tomatoes, by the way.