Sunday, October 07, 2007

The smile

Fiction...

She liked to eat off-brand cereal in the mornings and looked at the ground a lot when she smiled.

He first saw her one Saturday morning when he ducked into the grocery store after jogging. She looked unpretentious in her faded blue jeans and white t-shirt, advertising some joint at some beach somewhere. He shouldn't have stopped, but you know how it is on a lazy weekend.

"You can't taste the difference."

"Excuse me?"

"Between the box you're holding and the one that costs a dollar and a half more."

"Really?"

"Yep. Might as well save a buck, right?"

She grinned and looked at the floor. A piece of gum was stuck to a fallen receipt.

The smile. They break his heart every time.

"You new here?"

"Yep. How'd you know?"

"Small town."

She fumbled with her keys. Message received.

"Well, have a good day."

"You too."

He had forgotten it until he remembered the peanut butter. Aisle six.

He was trying to decide. This and that. He should have seen it coming.

"You can't taste the difference."

He saw the smile before he looked up.

"Really?"

"Yep. Might as well save a buck, right?

She continued shopping, but when she reached the end of the aisle, she turned and smiled. He waved, grinned back.

A light drizzle was falling when he put the paper bags in the trunk. He glanced at his watch. Fifteen minutes until kickoff.

Turn on the wipers.

He looked both ways, then turned right out of the parking lot, toward the marina.

Colquitt kicked off about half past twelve. Darned if Riggins didn't run the damn thing 74 yards to the end zone.

Didn't matter.

He was back at the grocery, standing in the breakfast aisle, drowning in her smile.

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