A Brief Courtship

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A little long for flash fiction, but it was my first try at it.

Submitted: January 27, 2011

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Submitted: January 27, 2011

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A Brief Courtship

Kevin King

We met just over a year ago. After my last girlfriend left me, I had moved to a little town to get away from the memories. I met her at a supermarket; she was a cashier. I noticed her as I searched nonchalantly for the shortest checkout line. She was giving a sweet smile to an elderly shopper while holding up her end of a conversation.

That was her best feature. Her smile was natural and caring. Her hazel eyes were a close second. They gleamed warmly in unison with her lips. Her auburn hair was thick, shoulder length, and never fully committed to being curly or merely wavy. When combined with her lightly tanned skin and petite figure, her portrait was that of a woman who was attractive, but not desperate for attention. She was exactly my type. So it is no wonder that I passed up the shorter lines to wait for her to check me out.

I tried to act casual as I watched her ring up the old man in line. When her story ended, she gave a warm laugh and the senior citizen smiled with affection. His appreciation, though, was not of the story, which was nothing special to be honest. Instead, he valued the teller. He was grateful for the interest that the young woman had taken with him, if only for a few minutes. It was clear to anyone that she valued him as a person, not just as a customer. When he walked away from her counter, the elderly man left with a visible regret that he was not younger.

The next two shoppers received as much attention as the first. Both of them were middle aged women. The first was hesitant to engage in conversation with the pretty cashier. However, when the girl mentioned the store’s recent sales, both of the women in line responded. An intense three way discussion of potential savings ensued. When the second of the two women finalized her checkout, she too looked sorry that the conversation had to end.

Finally, I had the opportunity to come up to the register. She smiled at me as she had the customers before. I, of course, returned the gesture. Then, after the obligatory greeting, she asked the somewhat cliché, “you aren’t from around here, are you?” But, she already knew the answer. You don’t just suddenly notice a well-groomed, similarly-aged member of the opposite sex in a country town as small as this.

So, for fun, I told her that I was from around. As expected, she was surprised. I asked her where she went to school. She laughed and said, “Fountain View, silly. It is the only school for twenty miles. I’d think you ‘d know that, if you’re from ‘around.’”

“I did know that,” I responded, “but you didn’t say you were from around here too.” And so, through the rest of my groceries, the game was on. To her credit, she picked it up pretty quickly and started playing along. Only a few times did she break character with a light giggle as I made up names and places. It gave me a chance to find out a little about her, like the fact she was seventeen. I told her that I was twenty two, and supposed that the age gap must be why she didn’t know my friends Bill Williams or Russell Stover.

When the time to pay for my items came, I said goodbye to the pretty girl behind the cash register and walked away. But as I did, I noticed that this time it was the cashier who was hurt that the purchase was over. This recognition led to my following trips down the cashier’s lane in the subsequent days.

I made it a point to take exactly one trip down her isle each day. Sometimes I would go through with only a pack of gum or M&Ms. Other days, when her line was by far the longest, I would wait for half an hour, reading the magazines lining the shelves. When I finally got to her, she would point out that there were shorter lines and I didn’t have to wait so long. I would make up some excuse like, “I know, but one of the wheels on this lousy cart doesn’t go straight. So I let it take control. Apparently it wanted me here.”

Our daily meetings lasted for two weeks. She would smile, blush and laugh; I would grin and joke with her as I tried to be mysterious. I knew she liked me, and she knew that I liked her back. I could tell she wanted me to ask her out, so I didn’t want to wait too long. Otherwise, going through her line every day might start to seem a little strange.

The day that I asked, I wandered the store until her line was empty. When it happened, I grabbed a pack of M&Ms to buy out of habit. As she scanned the bag, I made sure no one was listening before starting: “You must know that I like you. Why don’t we go out to dinner sometime?” She pretended to consider it before smiling and saying, “sure, why not?” We made the arrangements. I told her we’d go to best restaurant in town, which she informed me was a burger joint.

The night came. And after we ate, I knew we had connected as deeply as any couple could in just two weeks. She loved me, and I felt the same way about her. I actually thought she might be the one. There was only one small damper on the evening, when she started begging to go home. Even so, I insisted that she live with me. I tried to make it work for a few weeks, but she was never the same. Eventually, she passed away like the others, leaving me behind. So, your honor, I moved on to another town.


© Copyright 2020 kevincking1986. All rights reserved.

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