It is cold outside and the snow lightly rests in the backyard of houses. I am not sure why I am doing this. At 2 a.m. in the morning, I am nowhere near dreamland and so I drive. The Christmas lights and trees have been taken down. The ugly glowing plastic Santa’s on people’s lawns have been wrapped up and put in the basement probably. When I was younger I had beautiful house like this. I also had a sister and a brother who use to believe in Santa too. Now it is just me and my dad. I was about thirteen when I came home and nothing was there, just my dad and his stuff and my stuff. And of course one sloppily written letter from my lovely mother and her wedding ring. My father and I never saw them again but I miss those days.
By the time I got back home it was already five and my dad was up. He was brushing his teeth in the bathroom and shaving. When I walked past, he stepped out with shaving cream dripping down his chin.
“There is a job opening at Mandy’s Market. I told her you might show today or some day this week at six for an interview. You could use the job. It could probably help you sleep at night.” He wiped his chin with his towel and headed back into the bathroom.
Lately, this is how my dad and I communicate with each other. We say something and keep on walking. The only reason he wanted me to get a job because of college. He thinks I am going to be smart meanwhile I haven’t even touched a textbook or even did homework in over a month. I surely didn’t want to work at some supermarket where only snotty rich folks and middle class citizens shop. There was no argument going to be done on this one. I was old enough now to get a job. This could also mean paying for the gas and getting more cigarettes.
It is moments like this that I wish I had my mother with me. Where I could hide behind her while she talks to the scary woman dressed in a green plaid suit even though it’s a supermarket. I was hoping she would tell my dad I am too off for this job but instead she just leans forward in her seat and smiles. She has my report card in her hands and a bunch of other files. I know it isn’t a resume because I haven’t worked anywhere before except dog-walking. That didn’t turn out well since I never did clean up after the dogs or give them water after walking them. What can I say? I am one lazy boy.
“I think you are perfect for this job. This is what I advise. I want you to go home, take a very long shower and cut your hair a little and comb it. Then go to school go home spend an hour doing something homework. Then at four I want you to come in here dressed in your uniform. You will be a grocery bagger and to restock items when needed to. I want you to tell people have a good day as they leave the supermarket as well. You will finish work at eight. Fours of work and I shall pay you about twenty dollars an hour. Trust me I don’t just let anyone work here and that is why the pay is high. But I have a daughter who goes to Hamilton High and she knows what it is like growing up with the straps you was given. So she will train you for the next two months. By then you should be good. Got that?”
“Yes I do, Mandy.” I said and rose to shake her hand.
“Glad to have you on board Matt.” Mandy got up from her seat and shook my hand. “If you want my daughter is the parking lot right now probably heading home. You should get acquainted.”
I never knew I was allowed to call my boss by her first name. I go outside to meet Mandy’s daughter and my trainer. When I get outside, I noticed a girl almost the same height as me standing next to my car. She is bending down admiring the bumper sticker I recently put up to piss my dad off. One thing about Mandy’s daughter is that her face is weird. Her wild hair is a blond-brownish color and it fits her face perfectly with a purple beret fitting into place. She looks nothing like her mother. Her nose is more pointy and long and perfect. Her lips are more full and pink. Her eyes are a perfect shade of brown. She looks almost as empty as me. It disturbs me and when she fully turns around to face me, my heart drops.
“Let me guess, you are the new boy?” Her voice is soft but teasing.
“Do I have that new boy look on my face?” I smiled before I could stop it.
“No, you have the store’s uniform in your hands,” She laughs, “By the way, the name’s Eve, short for Evelyn Scott. I go to Hamilton High, a junior. My mom owns one of the most famous supermarkets in this boring town. I take Photography classes and I am obsessed with black lace up boots and shirts don’t fit me. I am a cashier and I get half of what you get in a day. It’s your turn now, newbie.”
“My name is Matt, short for Matthew Atone. I also go to Hamilton High, a junior. My dad works in an office building in the city but suggested I get this job to be more independent and my own gas money. I take Art classes and I am obsessed with tattoos. I am the grocery bagger and the guy who restocks things when needed.” I opened up my car door. “You want a ride home now?”
“My mom told me that I should show you around the place every day after school. She usually gives me two hours to get homework done since school ends at 1:58 p.m.” Eve throws her knapsack into the backseat of my car. “I usually get it done before that so I have two hours to do my photography. I am also a big fan of Christina Perri. Have you ever heard of her and her songs? She has a lot of amazing tattoos. If I were a big fan of tattoos I would get the same as hers.”
“You sure like to talk a lot. No offense.” I said.
“It’s a trait I picked up from my loving mother. I bet she talked your ear off without even interviewing you. That is one thing about her. She likes to talk and hear herself talk. Me on the other hand, I never run out of things to say.” Eve shrugs and rolls down the window. “Like right now. A topic hit me in the head. I always wanted to see it snow. All we get here is fall, spring and summer. Never winter.”
“I use to visit New York with my family. When it snowed, my mother use to say we’re having our first White Christmas. She had tattoos on her ankle, wrist, and neck and on her back. They were little sayings and pictures. It was always Christmas time when I didn’t see them. But I loved them more than anything. One time we went, it snowed so hard and thick that we had to stay for an extra week. It was just us. She stripped into her tank top and underwear and ran into the snow. I followed right after her.”
“What did the snow feel like?” Eve asks sitting up and looking at me as I drive.
“It felt like the most amazing thing in the world. It is very soft and cold. We weren’t use to the snow just yet. It used to be just us on those trips and that is one of my favorite memories of being there with the snow.”
“One day, I am going to go to New York experience a moment like that.” She smiles and points to a house at the end of the corner. “There is my place. You can just drop me off right here. Thanks for the ride, Matt.” Eve smiles once more and grabs her bag from the back.
“See you tomorrow, partner.” I tipped my head.
I watch her walked up the driveway and into the front door. I feel like a stalker but there is something about her. Evelyn’s eyes were empty like mine. Something very important in her life is missing just like something very important in my life is missing.
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