Everyone who said that seeing the love of my life for the first time was going to be "one of the most romantic moments of my life" was wrong.
I was walking down the hall, hair in my mouth as I stared at my textbook cramming for the upcoming calc test when I completely slammed into a locker. Down I fell, book falling and scattering my notes all over the floor, textbooks in my backpack slamming into my lower back since I refused to use a locker, and my hair being slammed into the back of my throat, making me gag. The gasps I heard all around me followed by a mysterious figure hoisting me up so they could attempt to give me the Heimlich as I choked on my hair was - what I thought would be - the most embarrassing moment of my life. My vision was black as I continued to choke, unable to pull the hair out of my mouth since the figure's arms were in front of my arms instead of under.
Suddenly, I found myself in the nurse's office. To my left was Nurse Feldman - someone I knew a little too well with my accidents - in his infamous rolley chair. On the right, however, was a new face I hadn't seen yet. This brown-eyed blond hair beauty was staring straight at me... a little too focused as he wrote on his notepad.
"Armon, stop staring at the patient. You make them feel uncomfortable that way," Nurse Feldman called as he kept his focus on the computer in front of him.
"NURSE Feldman, lad. Nurse. Feldman. Otherwise, I feel too old." Armon tried to hide his smile after being chastised by the head nurse, but he couldn't hide it from me. Nurse Feldman turned from his computer, looked at me, and shook his head in disappointment. "Dannie... What are we going to do with you? You keep getting worse and worse." I tried to give him an innocent smile, but he shook his head at me once more. After showing him some semblance of disappointment in myself, he cracked a smile.
"I'm sorry, Mr... Nurse Feldman.. sir, is this a frequent patient?" Nurse Feldman broke his gaze from me and looked at Armon.
"Yes, this is Dannie. She's one of our regulars. Be it bullying, accidents, or strokes of luck, she makes it in here at least once a week." Armon stuck his hand out to me. I slowly extended mine, which he gripped a little too tightly to shake.
"I'm Armon! I'm an intern!"
"Armon, you're a little too excited. You're in a high school nurse's office, you have to be stern." Armon sheepishly pulled his hand from mine, making me realize that the butterflies he made from touching my skin weren't disappearing. He continued to smile.
"Nice to meet you, Armon... I'm Dannie. I'll probably be seeing you often..."
"I hope so! It seems I'll learn a lot from you!"
"Armon! No flirting with the patients!" I could feel my cheeks getting red, but it looked like his were too. We stared at each other, knowing this was going to be a very interesting semester.
Whoever Called it a Crush was Right and I Hate Them.
Goddammit, that song just played. The song that drifts me back into this lilac and indigo haze. The boy at the pharmacy that made my brain start contemplating that whole falling thing again. I haven't fallen in a long time. The deep thuds within my chest and flush of panic when someone comes near felt so foreign they nearly took me out. I worked at the store now, so I see the boy from the pharmacy often. Boy. I mean, we're both in our twenties so he's a man but all the men I've been with have left some pretty deep scars. Let's put it in the middle - guy.
Said guy sends me into a goddamn panic attack every time I see him. You would think this man was carved by Michelangelo and had the personality of a Funfetti rainbow sundae. Maybe I just have this way of knowing what someone has inside because if I showed this guy to you, you'd probably think I'm boy crazy. He's just an average male with male-smelling hormones that are drawing me in.
But, what if I am not just crazy? What if you can look at someone and see who they are and your internal organs all react at once to their presence? I don't really like to get all Jesus-y about my impulses, but I know that I have spiritual gifts that I am truly unable to control. Getting used to it is the equivalent of a "weird" character realizing their whole life, they've had this super cool ability. Mine is the ability to know, which makes me really uncomfortable.
As a child, I had an awesome memory. Not even trying to brag, but I always remember people's names and faces. I can remember things about people from first grade like I just heard them yesterday. But, when you are six and try to become friends by remembering everything you've ever learned about them, you are basically a young Jeffrey Dahmer. So, by eight, I had completely masked my ability to remember things. Unless it was school-related (since I am a SUCKER for a good fact), I played dumb. Over the years, once I was close to someone, I would reveal how much I paid attention though usually no one really knows.
And now the present, I pay a lot of attention. As a cashier, I have to do something aside from yelling that I need something over the PA and bagging 10 laundry detergents. I know things about my customers that they would never know I knew. Without that context, it looks like I am a stalker. But I'm not. I just am a firm believer that if you're in my life, it's for a reason and that I should be a positive reason and not a negative one.
So back to this male that has given me more chills than the cooler I have to stock occasionally, I notice a lot. He's super good at customer service, and I think he really cares about people. He makes jokes to people he knows but doesn't really talk to strangers (like me and some of my co-workers), which makes me think introverted or reserved. Then, all the assumptions just begin to cascade and I get lost in that haze of imagination and start grinning and giggling.
Then I realize I'm being strange. The heat from my blushing makes me sweat and hazes my eyes. The terrible thoughts hit like a tsunami drowning and I gasp for air. My eyes water and my body trembles. If I'm at work, my body quickly rectifies itself. I stop breathing then my breathing slows to normal. My chest tightens and my hands stop shaking. My mind goes blank and the teariness in my eyes clears up. I depart momentarily, and when I go back to wherever the guy was, he's usually gone.
My body is relieved but my heart always feels cold and empty. I feel like I ruin everything. I go home and dive into a bag of edibles so the pain subsides and I can at least enjoy the rest of my night. I turn on music, my Sad Girl Shit playlist, and let Bad Bunny serenade me with my troubles. I drift into the thought of my soulmate. Whoever he is and wherever he is. I think of things we'll do together - cooking high, playing at a playground at 3 am, cuddling while watching the garbage television I used to sneak and watch after school. I wonder what he'll look like when I meet him. The thoughts of panicking creep back but a funny joke he'll say or a compliment he gives me neutralizes it like it will to once we're together.
I wonder what will happen the next day at work, drifting to the thought of the pharmacy guy again. Disney plays in my head. I drift into the scene of Megara, playing with a white flower while grinning and reminding herself she's not in love. The scene I imagined with so many other boys (and girls at some points) as I fought my worldly hormones to jump on the first thing with genitals and my spiritual desire to be with someone that is meant for me. I thought that fight would end as I got out of high school and started college. I thought I was over falling for any boy that moved. I thought that all the heartbreak and subsequent self-blaming and chastizing would stop all of the thoughts eventually.
Maybe I'm right about this one and just need to get over everything from the past and learn to trust myself again. Maybe I feel these things for certain men because they're real interpretations and I should go for it. Maybe I'm just convincing myself to try since I'm tired of being alone. Maybe I should go to bed because I have work in the morning.
Once upon a time, there were two colored hearts. The pink heart and the blue heart. They both started off as strangers, but as their circle of friends grew, they found themselves getting pulled to one another. Other shapes kept pushing them together until, one day, they both realized that they've grown feelings for each other. So everyday, the pink heart kept asking the other shapes what it meant for it to grow a centimeter and beat a loud thump each day. Meanwhile, the blue heart bottled up what it actually felt. Time passed, shapes grew and found their mates, tangents met, and seasons aligned. The pink heart and the blue heart each went and lived their separate lives. Reminiscing a love of what could have been if feelings were just shared. If fear wasn't a variable. Unfortunately, they were parallel lines. The blue heart, filled with regret, could only hope, "If only we were perpendicular lines, because a love that is 90 degrees is perfect."
Tom was sitting at the coffee shop, nursing a cup of coffee and feeling sorry for himself. It was a dreary day outside, and he had just been laid off from his job. He was debating whether to order another cup of coffee or call it a day when Jill walked in.
Jill was an attractive woman, and Tom couldn't help but stare at her as she walked by. She caught him looking and smiled, and Tom suddenly felt like a schoolboy. He blushed and looked away, only to catch her looking at him again out of the corner of his eye.
Tom tried to focus on his coffee, but he found that he couldn't concentrate with Jill sitting nearby. He kept stealing glances at her, admiring her curves and beauty. Suddenly, she got up to leave and Tom's heart sank. He thought he'd never see her again.
But then she came back over to his table carrying two cups of coffee. "I didn't want you to leave without saying goodbye," she said with a smile. Tom was elated – he could have talked to her all day! They talked about their lives and shared some laughs before finally parting ways. But Tom knew that he would be seeing Jill again soon…
Alice in Neonland
There was little way to tell whether the young woman was actually listening to the customer, or simply placating her with smiles and nods. The retail shop was full of gaudy neon trinkets, picture frames, junk jewelry, oversized T’s with vaguely sexual innuendos, cheap plastic sunglasses. It was an aggressive explosion of color; an assault on good taste. The young woman pointed the customer to the back of the store with a frustratingly vague gesture and resumed staring vacantly at her phone. She stood in stark contrast to her surroundings, clad in dark, muted tones. She didn’t look like the type of person who’d set foot into a shop like this willingly.
Tracy bounced in, full of energy and charisma, looking to buy erotic straws for her bestie’s bachelorette party. They were going to Get. So. Wasted. Going to a drag show was such a clever idea, Tracy congratulated herself. So edgy, so risqué! She took a lap around the shop, but didn’t see what she was looking for immediately, so approached the shop girl.
“Hiii, there!” Tracy began, pushing her neon pink sunglasses on top of her head. She flashed her award winning smile and tucked an errant highlighted blonde lock behind her ear. The shop girl nodded her head almost imperceptibly without raising her eyes from her phone.
Tracy was annoyed, but she wasn’t going to allow this gloomy shop girl to dampen her spirits. She had a bachelorette party to plan. “Um, yeah. Hiii! I was looking for some…novelty straws…?”
The shop girl finally looked up from her phone. She had a strong jawline and an angular nose. Her hair was brown, but Tracy could tell that it was thick and wavy. If she let it down and blew it out, she could rock a super cute beachy moment, Tracy thought. Her eyes were small, but a splash of color on her lids could really make them pop. A little gloss on her lips, maybe a stronger brow to counterbalance the jawline, a little contouring on the nose - ”
“Lemme guess. Bachelorette party?” She asked, shocking Tracy out of her makeover reverie.
“Yeah! OMG how did you know?
“Wild guess,” She rolled her eyes.
The shop girl met her gaze so unironically and without malice that Tracy concluded she must be joking. Deciding she wanted to be in on the joke rather than the brunt of it, Tracy started laughing robustly, slapping the shop girl on the shoulder while quipping, “Oh aren’t you funny! I love the cynical, droll vibe you’ve got going on.”
The shop girl looked at her arm where she’d been slapped, then up at Tracy. For a split second, Tracy was sure the girl was going to end her. Unexpectedly, she put down her phone, stood from her stool, and walked from behind the counter.
“Go on,” She put a hand on the small of Tracy’s back, pushing her forward, “The crap you’re looking for is back there,” she finished, pointing to the back corner of the shop.
She proceeded to walk behind Tracy, touching the small of her back occasionally. The act struck Tracy as familiar, intimate; like they’d been girlfriends for years. Or maybe she was going to end her after all. Tracy nervously stopped mid-gait and turned, causing the shop girl to bump into her. Instead of taking a step back, she merely stood there, looking down at Tracy. Tracy noticed then how tall and svelte she was. Honestly, she had great bones. With some fashion and makeup help, she could be a real knockout.
“Back there,” the shop girl pointed, “In the corner. Behind that red curtain.”
“You’re uh, not going to murder me and harvest my organs, are you?” Tracy ventured, not entirely sure if she was joking.
“Don’t be silly,” she said, putting her hands on Tracy’s waist and spinning her toward the curtain. She gave her another little push, “I need to know your blood type first,” she couldn’t help smiling as she replied.
Tracy stepped through the red curtain and held it for the girl, who followed her in, pulling the curtain shut behind them. “Ha.Ha. You’re a laugh riot. You know - ” Tracy stopped short as she looked around. She was surrounded by a sundry of items: lingerie, erotic movies, blow up dolls, fur lined handcuffs, plastic toys, vibrating toys. Against the back wall there was a row of leather straps and devices, the purposes of which she couldn’t engender in her wildest fantasies. Her gaze inadvertently lingered there as the shop girl moved in closely behind her. She was so close that Tracy could feel her breath, warm on the back of her neck.
“Ah, so you’re interested in the bondage gear. Innnnteresting, indeed.”
Tracy spun around, “What? No! I don’t even know what that stuff is!”
The girl smiled blithely, “Anyway, If you have questions, feel free to ask.”
With that, she turned and left Tracy alone in the sex room behind the curtain. Tracy grabbed a handful of novelty straws and exited quickly. She made her way back to the counter, but the girl was with another customer. Tracy waited at a respectful distance while she rang the woman up. The woman was doing her best to make small talk while the shop girl smiled and nodded in her inoffensively disinterested manner.
Once the woman was gone, Tracy approached the counter and handed her the straws without making eye contact. She could feel her checks growing red, and she wasn’t exactly sure what was causing her to blush.
“So, that gonna do it for ya?”
Tracy nodded, pretending to be interested in the stack of books behind the counter.
The girl pressed her, “You’re sure you don’t have. Any questions? Nothing else I can. Assist you with?”
Tracy’s breath caught in her throat. She wasn’t gay. Sure, she didn’t have a boyfriend. Hadn’t had a boyfriend. In a while. She was busy with grad school and work and. She didn’t have to explain herself to anyone, she asserted. Was the shop girl hitting on her? No. That couldn’t be. She was messing with her. Tracy shook her head and averted her gaze, laughing nervously. Man, was she a dummy! Of course the unassuming shop girl who could secretly be a runway model was fucking with her. Tracy couldn’t make eye contact with her now. She felt hopelessly silly.
She continued to gaze at the pile of books behind the counter while fumbling for her wallet. Unexpectedly, her attention was arrested by what appeared to be a rather rare, hardbound edition of one of her favorite books, “Holly crap! What kind of edition of Alice in Wonderland is that? Is that yours?”
The girl smirked, “Yeah, that’s mine. She reached over and picked it up. I don’t know if it’s worth anything, but it’s the only one like it I've ever seen. Check this out!”
She held it so Tracy could admire the cover, “Alice in Wonderland. Right?” She then thumbed through the pages to about the midway point of the book and opened it to a red velour page. On the middle of the page, "The End " was written calligraphy. Tracy was perplexed. There was still half a book’s worth of pages remaining. On the following page, also red velour, something was written in the same fancy script, but Tracy couldn’t make it out.
“Watch this,” she said as she flipped the book upside down. As she did, Tracy could see that calligraphy on the second page, now right side up, also read, “The End.” Tracy gasped, to which the girl replied, “I know. Right?”
She flipped from the red velour page back to the first, then shut the book so that Tracy could admire the cover, “Through the Looking Glass!” Tracy exclaimed. “Wow. That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen! Where did you find it?”
The girl smiled and winked, “If I told ya, I’d have to kill ya.”
“Oh, so that’s how the organ harvesting comes into play!” Tracy quipped, and they both laughed.
“But, seriously, you’re into this kinda thing?” she raised an eyebrow, “I’m legit surprised.”
“Are you kidding me? It’s a literary classic. It’s like. It’s like Dracula.” Tracy ventured.
Intrigued, the girl encouraged, “Is that right? Explain.”
“Well, it’s like a story that has been retold, rewritten, and remade so many times in film and animation that everyone’s familiar with the tropes. So, if you ask someone if they’ve read Alice in Wonderland, they’ll usually say no, but I’ve seen this or that version of it. And then, if you ask them whether they know the story, they’re like, ‘ya, ya, the Caterpillar, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat’, but that’s all they really know. The literary genius of it is completely lost on them. Same thing, only maybe worse, happens with Dracula. If you ask people if they’ve read it, they'll start rattling off tropes: vampires can’t go outside in daylight, hate garlic, can killed with wooden stakes. They sparkle.” She stopped to punctuate her point with an eye roll before continuing, “Very few people have actually read Dracula though. And, wow. It’s a shame because Bram Stoker was a massively gifted writer. His descriptive passages, the narrative. Just, so genius.”
Tracy stopped talking and realized the girl was gazing at her with an amused smile.
“Well, alright then. I’m impressed. It’s nice to meet you. Marianne,” she said while extending her hand.
Tracy smiled and welcomed the handshake, “It’s nice to meet you too, Marianne. I'm Tracy.”
The two young women stood there awkwardly holding hands, when suddenly the door opened. A tall, athletic woman with a commanding presence entered the room. She was swarthy and had a hip snappy walk. She sauntered over to Marianne and threw her arms around her neck, embracing her warmly before kissing her on the mouth. She glanced over at Tracy. Tracy panicked and started to walk off without the straws.
Much to her surprise, rather than mock or ignore her, Marianne smiled and introduced her, “Katherine, this is my new friend, Tracy. Tracy, Katherine.”
Tracy mumbled the world's most awkward greeting and forced a smile. She was dying of embarrassment and desperate to make her departure. She felt like an idiot. She wasn’t even sure why. She was just so. Uncomfortable.
Marianne nodded and said, “Right, well, like I said, the new shipment arrives later this afternoon. So, you could come back later today. Or tomorrow.”
Tracy felt her cheeks redden as she mumbled something about how that would be fine before turning and all but running from the shop.
Clearly perplexed, Katherine turned to Marianne and asked, “Ok, What. Was. That? Are you into basic blonde neon beaches now?” She poked Marianne in the stomach, causing her to giggle. “Huh? Should I be worried?” To which Marianne laughed and told her she was cray. Katherine persisted, “What did she want anyway? Oh wait - let me guess! She was shopping for a bachelorette party! Did she want straws shaped like male genitalia?” She made a grossed out face.
“Yuck. Right? You know I hate selling those. So dumb!” Marianne laughed.
The door opened and a family with a kid who wanted beach toys entered. Marianne sighed, rolled her eyes, donned her best customer service smile and escorted them to the family section.
Katherine winked and said, “I’ll be in the back. You know, getting inspiration.”
Marianne spent the rest of the day secretly hoping Tracy would return. She’d never met anyone as interested in classic literature as she was. Sure, Tracy was yet another neon wearing bleach blonde, but. Somehow, different. Compelling.
The day dragged on without Tracy’s return. Marianne sighed heavily and began closing up: she hated to admit that she was more than a little disappointed. As she was turning off the lights, she heard a tentative knock at the door.
She peaked through the door blinds and saw Tracy standing there, holding a stack of books. Marianne smiled and opened the door.
How they met
As Andrea walked the school as usual, books pressed to her chest, her hair pulled back in a low pony tale and nerdy classes adorning her eyes. When she felt herself collide with something hard, waiting to stumble, and to hear the loud thud of her behind kissing the floor. But it never happened. Eyes, still shut and her body encaged in arms that was perfectly tone, a set of hazel eyes staring back at her as she peeked the through her oddly placed glasses. her body hovering above the floor in his arms. Stiffening at the realization that the arms that held her belonged to Matt. Matt, the jog, the hottest boy alive. And here he stood with her in his arms, that charming side smirk that every girl got weak in the knees for.
The disbelieve of the odd that he would be her knight and shinning armor.
That is how meet-cutes play out in so many young people, when in reality it is the opposite of all of that.
In reality, a normal meet-cute, is not as cute as books make them,
In my case, the good looking boy that caught my eye at church on a Sunday morning after service. For a second it felt like we were the only two people alive. Little did i know that the moment he started to 'yap' I would feel like punching him so many times he would forget his name. Apart from the girls stroke his ego, making it grow bigger than it already was. He knew he had every girl around his pinky, and he owned it. I guess you could say, that was a put off to me.
The next Sunday church service I saw him, I felt less pleased. After service we had brunch in the church yard. We were standing in a group when a priest decided to hand on the both of us and utter "Just because you older now, do not think you can start kissing" I remember him chocking on the donut he had been eating and I coughed up the orange juice that barely made down my throat.
Long story short. Even though I was put off by his arrogance, God had other plans. Here I am eight years down the line with the boy I like, Disliked and now engaged to be married. I must say though, after eight years I finally realize that it was all a act, he is the sweetest idiot you could ever find.