I only saw her for a second. She passed in front of the store window and, as she did, she tucked a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear.
I was stuck inside, ringing up a complete jerk who didn’t believe that I knew how to calculate ten percent off. I should have thrown his stupid sweater in his stupid face and run after her. I resigned myself to the fact that I would probably never see her again.
It was months later, and also my last day on the job. I was moving west, to a state that people usually move from. I was almost ready to go for my lunch break when she walked in.
“I need a shirt,” she told me.
“For yourself, or somebody else?” I asked her. Now that she was here, I could smell her perfume. Some sort of flower. I’m not an expert.
“For a friend,” she said, not exactly narrowing the options. “A girl, um, women friend,” she added, realizing the need to be specific.
“Right over here,” I told her, directing her to the correct department.
I helped her sort through a few choices, answering simple questions about styles and sizing. I suddenly had a feeling that maybe I was watching her too closely. Maybe I was getting a little bit creepy.
I walked into the store on a whim. My friend’s birthday was coming up and I hadn’t had time to find her a present yet. The guy behind the counter looked a little bit like somebody that I’d gone to school with, but I don’t think it was the same person, because he didn’t recognize me.
“I need a shirt,” I told him.
He was very helpful, even when I was useless in describing what I wanted. I can’t expect the clerk to know what kind of thing I’m shopping for. Unless he was a mind-reading clerk, but I’m pretty sure my darkest secrets are still safe.
He was standing a little close, though. I chose to allow it. He was being nice, after all.
I found a couple things I liked, and we took them to the till.
“Do you have a loyalty account yet?” he asked.
I told him no, and he explained about the deals you could get with that.
“Sign me up,” I told him. “My name’s July.”
She told me her name was July. At first I thought she was setting up a bogus account to get the discounts but not the junk mail. She explained that it really was her name, and that she had sisters named January and April. Her story sounded credible enough, so I set it up for her.
“And now the hard part,” I said. “I just need your phone number.”
He asked for my phone number. So I gave it to him.