Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sudden Death

Her whole life, ahead of her.

When she was 17.

Ron.  Produce clerk at Albertson’s grocery.   Dreamboat.  Looks to die for.  Love of her life, or he could be, if only he would see past her shyly offered smile and hello, and really notice her.  Once or twice a week she would stop by his department, trying to catch his eye.  She was in luck.  He suggested lunch,  just as she struggled to slip a large cantaloupe inside one of the small paper bags set out for customer convenience.

He picked her up the following day at 12 o’clock, on the dot, and drove her to the malt shop, about a mile from the market.  He was courteous to a fault.  Almost stiff.  She chalked it up to nerves.  She was certainly nervous herself.

She ordered the bacon cheeseburger.  He, a bowl of the  “soup of the day,” chicken noodle.  And when their food was delivered to the red enameled table that stretched between them, her burger was 3 miles high on the plate, or so it seemed.   Feverishly, her mind worked, puzzling over how to wrap her mouth around the burger for a bite-and do so elegantly at the same time.

She seized her opportunity-the instant when Ron took a spoonful of soup, eyes down, focused on his bowl.    She dove into the impossible stack of bread and meat, cheese and condiments, only to surface with a pickle slice, torn loose from it’s moorings deep within the burger, and now hanging  from her lips and down past her chin like a giant green tongue. 

He looked up at her, from his own perfectly executed sip.  Embarrassment burned on his face, matching the crimson of her own.

Her life was over.

When she was 17.

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