Every Wednesday evening at 6, she will take her place. Third row on the second set of risers. All the way to the right. She’ll lean foward. Rocking a bit as they scrimmage. There’s a nervousness about her. Her eyes ﬂicker.
She’s as quiet as a church mouse. Heavy sudden whispers escape “Go Devon. Come on Devon”. She looks about afterward. Don’t want to be seen rooting, it’s just practice.
She’s almost divine. My eyes are locked into her. The long black hair rides her back. While not thin, she has soft round features. A porcelain complexion bears a sharp chin and a bit of a point to the nose. Eyes seem a bit dark and deeper set than they should be. Her pastel colors make pale skin glow. She loves teal, rose, pineapple, lavender, and new hues.
“I hope to love her even more after we meet. It’s coming. I wait for the chance. I know she would be happy. We shop at the same places. I wonder if she noticed me there. I try to stay a little behind.” His voice goes quiet
Unless it’s the intimate shop, I wait outside. I imagine. Lacy things. Delicate tapestries draped upon God’s creation of woman. Could she wear black or white? Her coordination efforts seem unlikely. I long to ﬁnd out. I would die to ﬁnd out.
“Oh what if she is timid? If she preferred darkness of those encounters…. Could I stay until morning? Oh no! She would surely keep that from Devon..at ﬁrst. I could not stay the night for morning to show me. I can’t wait to see.” His pulse quickens as he speaks of her.
The clock is his enemy. It steals away moments they should be sharing. Soon the practice ends. Everyone but one gathers a child. The coach blabs about the game on Saturday.
His eyes watch her walk toward Devon. He could care less. Her arm wraps across his shoulder and they begin the exit from his day.
“I don’t think I’ll follow them to McDonald’s. Maybe I’ll go to grocery in a bit. I’ll wait for her there. Maybe the meat department..while she’s looking over things in the case, I could come up on her. Strike up an interest on what she’s buying….” His mind wonders if today’s the day.
He waits in the parking lot. “It’s in the Bag” sign is above his pick up. The yellow circle and black letters reflect off the white hood. The parking spot stands guard over the parking lot. She can’t sneak in without being seen. He keeps checking the time. It’s been almost an hour. She should have been here already.
Fifteen agonizing minutes pass. A silver Chevy SUV pulls in. Her sunglasses make her look like a star. He fumbles the door handle. Getting out is automatic normally. But this is the chance…. he gets to approach her.
He sits on the driver’s seat watching her go through her routine. She reaches in back seat. Puts away the sunglasses. Straightens the hair a bit. Combs the hair back. Recheck herself. Then leaves the car. In two steps, she will turn and lock the car with the key fob. Her gaze will hold until the lights flash.
Once she enters the store, he leaves the truck. The glass doors show her grab a cart and head off to the right into produce. He loses sight of her briefly as he approach the sliding door. He goes through the effort of grabbing a cart and an ad. But it’s his query he searches. He know the routine she goes through. He can count the number of cucumbers, peppers, and lettuce heads she will inspect before making her choice.
“I hope she’s that selective with everything.” He whispers to the world. He knows she will be thrilled to meet him.
She approaches the back of the store. She’ll go through the bread looking for whole grain wheat.
“Honey…that’s right she gets honey wheat.” He turns a bit red not remembering.
Her turn for the meat case sends his heart pounding. The now or never moment is here. All the time learning, watching, waiting, hoping….fruition is around the corner.
She starts at the chicken. He wants to wait until she goes to beef. He gets closer. He started thirty feet away, now he’s within ten feet. She skips beef. Anxiety kicks in. He has to rush up and catch her. He cuts her off at the pork chops. She had no intention of stopping.
“Oh, excuse me! I didn’t mean to cut you off.” He offers with a smile.
“It’s ok. I wasn’t watching. Just kind of in a hurry.” She counters. People aggravate her easily.
“Their prices are hard to keep up with. I see you are not having any luck either here.” He smiles a little too much. He is unaware of his own empty cart. And desperate for eye contact.
“Yeah, well I’m kind of in a hurry. So….” She excuses herself
“Oh, right. Devon…how silly of me.” He doesn’t watch his words this time.
“What?! Did you say Devon?!! Why would you say that! Who the hell are you?!” Her face gets ugly. Her defense mode is fully operational.
“My nephew… He practices with the Bombers once in awhile. I kind of recognize you. You are hard to forget… I mean that complimentary, of course.” His smile is gone. He needs to control this. She wasn’t supposed to change the plan. He needs a new path here. He risks losing her.
“Well, I don’t like people knowing things about me without knowing them. I’m a single parent and there are a lot of crazies out there.” She sizes him up. She doesn’t like him, but isn’t sure why.
“Sorry, next time I’ll mind my P’s and Q’s. I’m Billy Harden. Josh is my nephew. If I see you again…we won’t be strangers now.” He smoothes details out.
“Yeah, ok. We aren’t strangers. Goodbye….Billy.” She starts to sprint away.
He watches her go. Next time. Next time less people around.