I couldn't help but realize where I was at the moment. I was slouched on my broken beat-to-shit plastic red chair overlooking the Target store. Barely anyone was there, probably because it was almost 11:30 at night. I forgot how I got there. I don't know if I went in there to buy a piece of furniture I didn’t need, or if I needed more Frosted Flakes. I always found myself trying to buy things I didn't need in order to make myself feel better. That's definitely one quality that no one should appreciate in someone. The reason this memory sticks out so much is because I was unhappy about where I was. Where my life was going, to be more specific. Gosh, I don't even have a girlfriend, let alone that many friends to begin with. This was stupid. All of this was stupid. Nothing made sense and nothing went my way because it was all stupid, until a finger tapped my shoulder. Not too hard, but not too soft either. Just enough to make you notice. I turned my head to find a middle-aged woman, Mexican maybe, smiling and looking down on me. Not metaphorically, I mean literally.
"May I hep you sir?" she asked.
I smacked my lips together before I answered.
"No thanks, I'm fine."
I smiled and nodded my head to let her know that she could go away and that I didn't need her communication anymore.
"Okay, if you need anything jus' come ask me."
"Thanks," I sarcastically replied.
She smiled even brighter and walked away. I looked at her as she made her way back to where she was working. It was this Pizza Hut inside the Target. It wasn't too big, but it wasn't too small either. Just enough to make you notice. She picked up a white rag and began cleaning the inside of an oven. It was completely black and filthy. Her hair was everywhere, her hat was tilted almost off of her head, her shirt was un-tucked in several directions, her pants had salsa stains, and her left shoe was un-tied. She was smiling though. You could tell she was very tired, her sweat actually glistened off of the tungsten light bulbs above her. I know that sounds a little gross, but it's the way I saw it. The way most people don't see things like I do. She had probably been working there seven hours at least. The countertop was still filled with crumbs and soda spills. The slushy machine was drenched in Cherry-Cola flavored slush and it draped all over the cracked tiles. And here I was, thinking how much my life sucked, when in reality this person had it worse. She probably got married at a young age, had kids, never went to college, got a divorce, and now is a single mother trying to make ends-meat. She was smiling though. I felt like an ass hole. She could've continued her cleaning and not worry about me, yet she actually thought of helping me at 11:30 at night. And I had the decency to look at her in the eye and say, "No thanks, I'm fine. I'm just sitting here."
* * *
"Ehem," I said.
"Ges?" she asked.
"Do you need any help?"
"Oh no sir, I fine. I be okay."
She continued to clean the oven, until I tapped her on the shoulder. Not too hard, but not too soft either. Just enough to make her notice.
"Really, let me help you with something."
She seemed confused, maybe it was because she didn't know what the hell I was saying, or if it was because she had never had a customer ask her if she needed help. She was smiling though, so I figure it was probably the second option.
"Ju can hep me mop the slooshy."
She handed me a mop followed by a yellow bucket of soapy water.
"Okay yeah sure."
"Very good, thank you."
I rolled the yellow bucket of soapy water and held the mop in my other hand, but before I approached the Cherry-Cola slushy, I had to ask her a question.
"What's your name?"
She stopped cleaning the oven.
"Yeah, you know. Your name."
"My name is Sofia Loriena Juarez."
I sorta nodded my head and squinted my eyes trying to understand what the fuck just came out of her mouth.
"I am from Brazil," she stuck out her hand.
I laughed and shook her hand.
"My name is Elliot Lassee. I'm from Bruville, Texas."
She sorta nodded her and head and squinted her eyes trying to understand what the fuck just came out of my mouth. That's okay though, at least I made a friend.
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