“Cierra, Part II”
Weeks have gone by. The routine still unchanged. I see her nearly every morning. Well, it’s morning for me, of course. 2pm is morning for the second shifters of the world. My mornings seem to get brighter when I see her. The self loathing’s starting to fade with every glance of her eyes. With every smile and every comment she makes, my spirit grows a little taller. My ego starts to soar into the candy colored dreams I had of what the future could hold. The work days seem to drag on, and I wish the start of a new day would come sooner. Then, reality sinks in. I don’t even know this angel’s name.
Fate has a funny way of making us do things. Do you ever get an unexplainable urge to do something completely out of character? Do you find yourself propelled into action when in normal circumstances you would let the moment slip by? That is fate playing with the strings of your soul. Fate had her hooks in me and my puppet strings under her control. One fine day, she rips me from my normal anti-social ways and throws me to the wolves.
I get my usual early morning supplies. Two energy drinks and a Twix candy bar rest in my hands as I wait in line. She isn’t there, but I know her shift is starting soon. The time’s 1:57pm. She starts at 2pm. I keep asking myself if I planned it that way. Something in my subconscious made me get up earlier. Fate had me changing my sleep pattern and my morning routine just so I could be closer to this seemingly unattainable beauty. I pay for my items then I see her walk towards the cash wrap. Of course her line’s empty. I bet you think I chickened out. Those of you who know me would make that bet with all you got if given the opportunity. Something inside of my head screams out in defiance of my nature. “Fuck it!” The sound’s deafening as I step away with my bag of goods and make my way over.
I stare my own fear in the face and tell it to kiss my ass. I walk up to her and slowly reach out my hand to hers as her eyes meet mine. I introduce myself with surprising calm. She smiles and finally utters the name I’ve been waiting to hear for a month. Cierra. The name sticks with me now. It’s etched on the underside of my heart. The engraving rests at the end of a long list of women. The newest addition still fresh and sore. What a beautiful pain it is to have someone touch your heart with that chisel! I look behind me and notice a line forming. To hell with them. This is my moment, but the timid side of me steps in, and I just tell her that I would talk more later. I make my way out the door and curse at myself silently for not getting a phone number. I got a name and that was all I needed for now.
I make my way back to my car, but I’m followed by the customer who was behind me. He looks at me and starts laughing. He politely informs me that she had been waiting to talk to me as long as I had been waiting to grow a pair of balls. In his words, “You have her under your belt, man.” I couldn’t help but laugh. My laughter’s not just because of his speech. I had finally gotten somewhere. I thank him and go on my way to work, promising I would find her on our wonderful online social network. It just so happens, I didn’t need to find her. She found me as she sent me a friend request. We exchange a few messages and I finally get that phone number I had been longing for.
The coming days are riddled with flirtatious text messages. I have to admit, when it’s via electronics, I have a bit of “game”. We spend the time boosting each others’ egos and learning more of what makes us tick. She has all the same interests as me. She’s only 18, but I was captivated. The age difference bother either of us, but there’s one scathing issue. She has a boyfriend. My hope’s utterly destroyed. I’m not one to abide by cheaters, and I do my best not to cause that kind of schism. She tells me how she’s leaving her boyfriend soon. She explains how she’s made that dumb teenage mistake of moving in with her high school sweetheart. two months she’s lived with him, and now, she’s trying to claw her way out of his apathy and verbal abuse. I decide to run with it. I wasn’t going to let this one escape. I’ve been nearly ruined by letting people get away from me in the past. I was not going to let my inaction be the cause of another period of torment.
The week pass, and it’s Saturday. We’re enjoying our usual conversation. Then, she asks the big question. Would I like to see a movie with her on Sunday? My heart nearly leaps from my chest. My fingers tremble as I pressed the keys on my touch screen. Of course I wanted to! I want nothing more than to be in her presence. We set the time and the movie of choice. Annabelle. It’s another mass manufactured horror movie with a possession theme. She’s to be at an elementary school football game that her sister’s cheering for, and she wants me to meet her there. Sunday comes, and the time for the game’s fast approaching. I make it to the field and am doing my best at chain-smoking to calm my nerves. She finally arrives. She’s still gorgeous bundled up in a hoodie that hides her form. We sit shivering in the bleachers, huddled up next to each other, searching for whatever warmth we could find. the game finally ends after what seemed like an eternity, and we’re off to the mall named Polaris.
We carry a great conversation along the way, even though I could not begin to tell you what it was about. We make it to the mall with hours to spare. We wander around the stores, making small talk and making fun of the people we come across. I feel like I’m back in high school as her hand touches mine in an embrace that sent a chill up my spine. We step outside to rest on a bench and share a cigarette. She complains again of the cold, and I say that I could try to keep her warm. I reach around to embrace her and she makes a move that surprises me. She moves forward and kisses me. Her soft lips rest gently on mine. I feel a pain in my chest that I haven’t felt in years. It was excitement. This girl had my stomach in knots. I reach my hand up and caress her cheek as I kiss her back. It was like the earth stood still. God had picked this moment for me. To hell with Fate. Fate is a minor player in this wicked game of life compared to the divinity that I had experienced in that moment. We finally release each other, and she smiles sweetly at me. My mind’s racing with all the possible outcomes of the day.
It’s nearly an hour until the movie’s set to start. We’re nestled in the warmth of my car, enjoying each other’s company in the classic “make out session”. Everything’s going so perfectly that I had to do a dream versus reality check. Is this really me? Am I in this situation? I move the vehicle to the movie theater parking lot. We travel inside, and I make the ticket purchase. We settle in the back row of the movie theater for obvious reasons. The movie starts, but I couldn’t concentrate on it. I was too caught up in my thoughts. What does the future hold for us? Can I finally make a decent relationship happen? Everything’s perfect as she leans against me and I take her in my arms. The movie’s the usual “trying too hard at being scary” type. Nearly an hour in, she excuses herself to the restroom, and I eagerly await her return. She comes back, and I try to settle into the comfortable position of her body against mine. Something has changed. What was recently warm and inviting is now cold and distant. She has inched away from me and would no longer even take my hand into hers. I sit astounded. The movie ends. We make our way out, and I ask her what was wrong. I get the usual canned response. “Nothing.”
We leave the theater, and she gives me directions back to her house. I pull into the driveway and that’s when she opens back up. She says she has a confession to make. When she “went to the restroom,” she was actually out crying. She felt guilty about the whole situation. She says that she had thought she was ready for something different, but she had to get her head straight. She needed to finalize moving away from her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend. I tell her I understand that she’s in a difficult position and that she could have all the time she needs. She says she would see me around whenever I came to her work for my morning routine. I hug her and kiss her forehead. My heart’s in pieces. How could I have allowed myself to fall this far, this quickly? I wish her a good night and tell her I would text her soon.
I pull out of the driveway. My mind’s racing. During the drive, I text her and tell her that I had an amazing time and wanted to talk to her again soon. She answers my message the next day while I’m at work. She explains that she didn’t think we should talk anymore. She wanted to try to salvage her relationship. She wanted to make sure that if she actually left him that she had tried her best. Since her last message, she has not responded to any of mine. She has blocked me on the social network. I still see her some mornings on my commute to work. I feel burned. Burned yet again by the beauty and pain that a failed beginning of love brings. She is another in a long line. I find myself being zipped up in a body bag to be taken away from Love’s killing fields.
© Jesse Cole Short Stack Story Time 2014