When the Time is Right

I was having an awful day at work.  8-hour shift.  5 hours (much more time than I’d been scheduled for) monitoring the blasted self-check out.  Second break forgotten.  And he hadn’t come in between 3 and 4 that afternoon like he usually did on Fridays.

We had started a flirtationship soon after we’d first met, after the first time he’d been called up to the front from his grocery department in the back to bag for me during a rush.  He quickly learned that he could tease me and not only would I respond favorably, but I’d tease him back.  I started to look forward to the shifts I knew we’d share; they usually involved him smiling and making funny faces at me whenever he’d pass by.  Our moments together were fleeting, but we always made the most of them.

Before I left for college last summer, I’d intended to tell him where I was going, to explain.  But I never got the chance.  I’d had to accept the fact that I might not ever see him again.  When I returned to work at the beginning of this summer, I assumed he wouldn’t be around.  After all, a year had passed, and he could’ve very well moved on to bigger and better things.  I got quite the surprise on my first day back when I heard someone call my name.  Much to my delight, the person I saw when I turned around was him.  We talked just like old times, as if no time had passed- both awkward and giddy about the fact that we were talking to each other once again.  When he left, I hoped that it would become a weekly thing, seeing him on Fridays when the next week’s schedule is posted.  It did.

But on this particular Friday, he did not come in between 3 and 4 as usual.  This disappointment sure did not help on top of all of the other unpleasant factor’s in that day’s work.  Until sometime after 8, in the final hour of my shift, when I was more than hangry given my lack of break (You know those Snickers commercials? “You’re not you when you’re hungry”?  Yeah, well they were practically created for me), I saw him with two friends.  At first he didn’t see me.  Then I thought we made eye-contact, but he just kept walking.  “Just like a guy to ignore a girl when he’s with his friends,” I thought.  My night was going from bad to worse.

As I was bagging for one of my friends who was cashiering nearest the self check-out, I heard someone call my name.  It was him.  I knew my face lit up, just as his did, as we looked at each other.  He’d called me by my full name, which I called him out on because he’d never done that before.  I realized that I was being a little snappy and apologized for being cranky.  “Nah, don’t be cranky,” he said, but when I explained about my five hours on self check-out with no break, he cut me some slack.  He even surprised me by putting his arm around me and pulling me into a hug for the first time.  I couldn’t help but smile as I thought about the fact that I’m the only girl I’ve ever seen him act like that toward.  And after we said good-bye, which seemed to happen far too soon, it occurred to me that maybe he hadn’t come earlier in the day because I’d needed him then.  He came when the time was right.



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