It’s the first time I’d seen him in more than a year. When he first walked in the door I knew it was him. I was at work in the office talking to my manager about some guy that got arrested that night for shoplifting. We were laughing when I freaked out.
“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!” That’s all I said and I ran out.
“Crystal, what’s going on? Should I call the cops?” Tracey thought that the crazy shoplifter was back. I ran back in the office.
“Sorry, that was a good oh my god. I’ll be right back.”
I calmly walked out the door, and began searching for him. I looked through the whole store, and I couldn’t find him. I was walking back to my desk when I ran into Tracey. She told me that a cute guy was asking for me. “I asked him if he wanted me to page you up front, but he said he’d find you. Girl, you know you’ve got two cute guys after you in here. You’re crazy.” I had totally forgot that my boyfriend was at the store. I began freaking out, internally.
I went back to my desk. Two girls came up to me, they wanted to know if we had a copy of Tommy Lee’s book “Dirt”. I was looking up the book for them, when he caught my eye. I smiled and asked him to give me a minute. When I was done helping the girls, I found Jared. Jared is my boyfriend of like maybe a month. We’re not very serious, or at least I hope not. Because ten minutes ago the love of my life walked back into my life.
Jared was talking to me about something and I interrupted him,
“My friend from Arizona is here right now. He’s in the store and I haven’t seen him in a year. I’ve gotta find him and talk to him before he leaves.” I started walking to the Classics section.
Akom had a copy of The Scarlet Letter in his hands. How appropriate. I gave him a hug, it was one of those long hugs where no one moves for like a minute. We just kind of sank into each other. I could feel Jared watching the whole thing. We pulled apart and began smiling.
“So, when did you get back home?” I wonder if he still thought of this small town as home, or is his home out west now?
“I flew in on Tuesday. I’m here until Sunday.” He looked so good. I wanted to tell him how beautiful he was. Jared walked up and saved me from embarrassing myself by telling Akom my thoughts.
“Oh Akom, this is , uh, my boyfriend Jared. Jared this is Akom.”
They shook hands. The air felt tense.
“I’ve gotta go to work and preview a movie. I’ll see you later.” Jared looked hurt.
I told him I’d call him as he was walking away.
“What was his name again? I wasn’t really paying attention,” Akom said with a smirk.
I laughed and said, “His name is Jared, and he’s a good guy.”
“So how have you been?” He looked worried. Every time something goes wrong, I’ll tell him about it. He knows when I’m sick, or when my heart has been broken. I email him all the time, well I used to. Lately we haven’t talked much because I’ve been working so much, and spending most of my free time with Jared.
“I’ve been okay. Just living life the best I can. Hoping to go to college soon. I can’t live the rest of my life in a bookstore.” As soon as the words left my mouth I wanted to take them back. Because that’s basically his life. He works at a small bookstore.
He began telling me stories about working there. He was talking about a deaf Indian guy that got kicked out of his store. He used alot of hand gestures, and I couldn’t stop staring at his hands. I’m a sucker for a guy with nice hands, and man are his wonderful. He has a small spiral tattoo on the knuckle of his ring finger.
When he finished his story I laughed and we just stood there looking at each other. He smiled, I smiled, it was perfect. Then I realized I was still at work.
“Well, I should probably let you get back to work. I’ve got your number.” I didn’t want him to go. I had so much to do, but my boss could wait. It’s been a dramatic night.
“I’m not working tomorrow if you wanna hang out.” Please say yes, I thought.
“I was actually about to ask if you were busy. We still need to get that coffee.”
“Yeah, we do. Just give me a call whenever.” We hugged again. I tried to breathe in as much of him as I could. I turned to go back to my desk. I didn’t want to see him leave. It would hurt too much to watch him walk away again. So I go to the Horror section, where we first met three years ago. I can’t stop smiling, and I’m doing some dumb little dance.
By the time I can focus enough to get back to work, I have to start closing. I’m walking up front with four coffee containers, singing the only song in my head. It’s a Taylor Swift song, Stay Beautiful, it totally describes my mood and how I feel about Akom.
“Hey Crystal, how are you tonight?” Pete asked me. He’s a regular customer, comes in almost everyday. I offer him some coffee, he accepts.
“She’s happy because she’s in love,” says Johnathan. He’s my buddy at work. He’s awesome. I talk to him about alot of stuff, and he tells me about his life. He’s a drag queen, we’re supposed to go party sometime. He was laughing because of my delima tonight, he knows my boyfriend, and he knows the story behind Akom.
Him and Pete start making fun of me, so I just laugh and sing louder headed toward the break room. I was so happy all night. This was the best day of work ever. I hope I don’t get fired for doing absoultely nothing all night.
When I got home I called Jared. I told him I was tired, and I’d call him tomorrow. I wasn’t really tired. How could I sleep with Akom back in town? Just knowing he was back gave me so much hope for us. I finally fell asleep with his face flashing through my head.
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