It’s always irritating when the swirling smoke from a freshly lit cigarette finds its way right into your eye, creating a stinging sensation that cannot seemed to be rubbed out, you have to allow the pain to fade. We were both overnight stockers at a local grocery store, escaping our chains in the morning when dew was fresh, the smell of salt peppered the air from the coast, and a splash of sunlight began to dance around the edges of the horizon. She asked if she could bum a cigarette off me and there is always plenty to go around, I handed her one and sparked the end, watching the flame dance for a second, creating a beautiful glow in her eyes before extinguishing. That’s when I realized I had worked beside this woman for almost four months now and did not even know her name. As I looked up into her eyes, I saw how they were a type of brown that would seem artificial anywhere else but in eyes, with golden specks decorating the outer edges, a universe in a single look staring back at me. “What’s your name?” I asked as I drew a long drag from the remainder of my cigarette. She exhaled puffs of smoke, swirling around her face as if to allow for a veil of mystique before saying “Annabelle but most people call me Ann, your Michael, right?” The way she said my name, its as if she knew my name was Michael but was not the person to let on to knowing too much. I was hooked. “That’s me, I haven’t seen you much. What department do you work in? I am always stuck in the meat department so I don’t get to see much besides pork butt and cow tongues I said as I let out a slight chuckle. She joined in on my not so funny punch line with her own giggle and it happened again. It was in that giggle, I felt it. Have you ever smelled something that caused you to feel as if life was starting to come into an arch? That’s how I felt hearing her laugh, as if there were hands in her sound caressing my ears. She says “I’m generally in produce making sure the bananas are not overly ripe but I have seen you about. You are always in a rush to get out of here after the shift, I was surprised to see you standing in the parking lot when I came out. I went to puff on my cigarette before noticing it had burned out and before I could pull out my lighter, I was surprised to see Ann still had my lighter and was holding it under my cigarette while at the same time staring into my eyes. It was in that brief second before she ignited that flame that I could see there was more to this conversation than a morning smoke. As she handed me back my lighter, I said “do you make a habit out of pocketing peoples lighters?” In return with her saying “only when I want that person to have a reason to find me.” It was hard to not notice how her almond brown hair bounced around her shoulders in waves, like high tide creating calligraphy in the sand. Her body was of medium weight but curved in a manner that would have put Ruta 40 to shame. She held herself in a manner that seem to shout a certain defiance out to the world, daring others to try and steal her flame. I said if you wanted me to find you, you only need laugh and I would search pans labyrinth for the source of that beautiful sound. She giggled again; I had succeeded in causing her to produce the sound that seem to make me feel like an invisible sleeping bag was enveloping me on a chilly morning. As she threw the rest of her cigarette to the ground and rubbing it with her foot until it was no more than a mere reminder of how my morning happened to take a turn for the better, we connected eyes again before her asking “maybe we can do this again tomorrow?” I laughed as I said I don’t work tomorrow, to which she retorted with a smirk on her face, “neither do I”. I asked Ann what she was doing with the rest of her day, I said “if you have no other plans, I know a quaint diner in town that serves some good food. I would not suggest the apple pie though, they serve it cold unless you ask to have it warmed up.” Leaning against my car, she turned to face me head on, grabbing the sleeves of my coat and yanking me in close before saying that she would enjoy that very much. Being this close to her I realized I could stand next to her for a thousand mornings and still be as nervous as the first day I asked her name. I leaned in, holding my lips just outside of her own, the tension was like coming in from the rain, sitting in front of blazing fireplace and feeling the flames tease your skin barely out of reach. I could not tell you the definition of love, I don’t think there could ever be one. How could a feeling so transcendent and blissful be described in such a clumsy art like language? Love needs all the sensory feelings working together at once to even be able to grace a message such as love. I dropped my cigarette still burning as I our lips melted into one another causing my mouth to feel like it was a puzzle that had been missing a piece. This was how Ann and I have managed to stay together for three years. Every day we get off work, we role play as if meeting each other for the first time. I didn’t want to stop kissing her but as our lips separated, she said “get in the car and let’s go get some breakfast handsome” to which I replied, of course beautiful. I was excited to sit across from her and eat like I have done for over one thousand mornings before. The real excitement though comes from when we get home, to hold her and dream of the next one thousand days ahead of us.
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Wow, so interesting Christopher. It captured me from first line to the end. Is true life story? - I mean, your first submission and it's wonderful first for that. Dialogue is first class too. Welcome to the show.
Thank you, that makes me feel great!