Price Breaks and Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
Paper Hearts And A Red Haired Tart
My Monday classes were a breeze; history, English, philosophy and then applied dramatics. Algebra and Business Writing were on Tuesday and I was terrible at those; I think it was because they might have had an impact on my finical standing in the future. I went from school to home; then I changed my clothes and headed out to work.
People were starting to notice the Paper Shredder store and business was picking up. The grand opening was scheduled for the first Friday of November; it would be a semi-lavish affair with free balloons, sales, prizes and visits from any Albany politicians that might be available and were not currently under Federal investigation.
A rare thing then and now.
Sunday had sped by, I barely remembered it, the whole day was just a thought free blur. My sister still wasn’t home, she and the man she had run off with were playing house and talking about marriage. My mother and stepfather were trying to lure her back home using a strange cocktail of forgiveness, guilt and outright physical threats.
In my opinion she was awfully young and immature to be even thinking of marriage but I’m sure if the thoughts of a nineteen year old man that didn’t know how to use a washing machine were really what she needed to hear.
The far row of the Paper Shredder’s parking lot was set aside for employees to use. When I got there I found Tallulah waiting for me. I parked my car a respectable distance from hers and approached cautiously. I asked, “Shouldn’t you be working?”
“I’m on break,” she replied. “How have you been?”
“It was a quiet week for me. Friday was definitely the high point.” I smiled.
She smiled back, “Me too.”
For all the wit and weirdness I might display in my writings I always feel uncomfortable when trying to say something serious or important. Still I tried . I began, “You know I’m sorry I lost my head a little that night,” I said. “I should have respected your personal space.”
“It was just unexpected,” her voice was almost a whisper, “but it wasn’t awful.”
I was stunned, “You sound like one of my rejection slips.”
She took a step forward, “Are you busy this weekend?”
“Not really I just…”
That was when Tallulah kissed me, stealing away the breath that held my next words and the next few ones as well. When it was over we were holding each other, oblivious to the brisk fall cold air and the demands of the Paper Shredder’s time clock.
Naturally I had to ruin it by asking, “What brought this on? What about what’s his name?”
“Let’s just take this one day at a time OK?” she said and then we kissed again.
Once again I had a girlfriend but I was in competition with another male. What was I? A ‘Not-Quiet Alpha Male’? A distraction or an amusement? All I knew was that I was determined to give Tallulah’s roadie boyfriend a run for his money.
And I swore to do it without playing games or by assuming new levels of intimacy could be bartered away with baubles and dates.
You see, I now knew that love wasn’t something that could be coaxed and wheedled from a woman. It could only happen if she saw into your heart and decided you were the man that could be her strength and her solace, her confidant and companion.
I was going to be the man and the lover I knew I could be. I was going to prove myself to all the people that mocked and derided me.
And by God I was going to get a hand job by Christmas.