So I'm doing something a little different on this blog for a little while. My best friend and I (Hey Xanthia!!! What's up girl!) are thinking of writing together so I added her to my blog and we're going to try coming up with some various fiction and short stories. It's a work in progress, so be patient.
Anyhoo, below I'm attaching part of a short story I'm in the process of writing. Hope you enjoy. Here goes nothing:
It was my last day. It already felt bittersweet. The music store was my refuge, the one place where I could go and feel like an individual, and now I was leaving it. The shift started out like any other, but by first break Natalie and I had already dissolved into tears twice. I was going to miss her most of all. Well almost most of all.
He showed up two hours before closing. It aggravated me. I was doing my best to ignore him, but yet, everywhere I looked he was always in my periphary, daring me to stare, daring me to dream. But I couldn't get caught up in it again. He'd look at me, trying to get my attention. I couldn't let it happen. I was too worried that I'd dissolve into Old Andrea again to notice the music change. He was in the line to be cashed out thirty minutes before closing. I would do whatever I could to avoid ringing him out, but he would just let someone else go in front of him, biding his time. Finally I couldn't avoid him. I took a deep breath and sighed. "Can I take the next person in line?" He came up with a big stack of CDs. "I though you balked at the idea of buying your own CDs and funding 'The System'."
"I do, but see I use to have this friend who made me the most awesome mixed tapes but she's been playing a disappearing act lately. So I'm having to make due."
I looked down and at his CDs. It was a hard jab and I was going to have to take it. "Buying Ashlee Simpson and Mandy Moore? Not exactly making due there chief."
"What can I say, without guidance I can get lost in the cultural wasteland."
"Do you really want these?"
"No not really."
"How about... Vanilla Ice! Josh you have got to be kidding me."
"O.k. the top three are a joke but the rest I want."
"So, is this little excursion just an excuse for spending more of the trust fund, or do have an actual reason for being here?"
"I came to see you actually. I heard you got that internship in Seattle."
I got really quite and stared at his CDs a bit. "I did."
"And you're leaving on Thursday."
"I tried calling you."
"I know you did."
"You haven't returned any of my phone calls, or any of my texts."
"Were you going to tell me?" More quiet.
"I was going to call you once I felt..."
"That I was over you and we could start over in ernest without...without my feelings getting in the way."
"And when was that going to be?" Even more quiet.
"I don't know."
"So what was your plan? You were just going to cut off contact with me, not even give me a chance to explain myself, cut line and bail? Does our friendship mean anything to you Andrea?"
"How can you ask me that. It's because it means everything to me that I had to do this." Tears wer in my eyes now. I could feel my throat closing up.
"Will you at least talk to me, I just need to..." I gave him a hard calculating look, trying hard to hold back my quivering lip and tears I knew wanted to come.
"I'm busy packing and getting ready. I don't think I can."
"How about tonight? Can you talk to me after your shift."
"I don't think so. Gino asked me to stock after. I won't get out until way after midnight."
"She gets off in fifteen minutes." Natalie piped up from her cash register. I wheeled in her direction, a look of astonishment and anger probably in full view on my face. I'm pretty sure I threw in a nostril flair for good measure.
"Actually I don't. I get off in an hour because I promised I'd help Gino."
"But Gino told you it is your last day. That you should live it up and that you should take off as soon as sign off and cash in your register."
"But I already made arrangements. I'm staying for an hour."
"But Gino and I both said to take the night off early. We won't allow you to work the extra hour." She looked directly at Josh "She's off in fifteen minutes."
"So fifteen minutes then. Will you talk to me then?"
"I don't think it's a good idea Josh."
"You're not giving on this at all are you?"
I shook my head and finished ringing him up. He handed me his credit card in silence. As he left, he took the bag from my hand and said "Plan B then."
Once he was gone, I wheeled on Natalie "What the hell was that all about?"
"He was your best friend. You're not going to spend one of your last nights here talking to your best friend?"
"What for? So he can tell me that I'm his best friend and that my friendship means more to him than my feelings mean to me so that I can dissolve into the same old schmoopy, mopey Andrea puddle again? I won't do it."
"No Andrea. So you can say goodbye to somebody who meant so much to you. Take my advice. If you don't listen to what he has to say, you might end up regretting it for the rest of your life."
"No. I don't see that. I just see the same old patterns. And I can't fall into them right now... Hold on. What is this playing?"
We listened for a second "It's Bloc Party's ..."
"Modern Love. What was playing before it?"
"Golden Palamino's Rain..."
"Holds. And the Cranberries played before that. Son of a Bitch, Micheal's playing my mixed tape. Hand me the walkie talkie."
"Yeah." He squawked back.
"What is this you're playing?"
"A mixed CD this guy asked me to spin. He says the mix is yours. It's pretty good. The student has become the master."
"Yeah Yeah, that's great. Could you take it off please?"
"No can do. Guy payed me twenty bucks to play it in it's entirety."
"I'll pay you forty to turn it off."
"Sorry I got a better offer. Same guy is offering me a hundred bucks for the micraphone."
"Micheal. Do not give him the mic. Do you hear me. Do not give him the mic!" There was nothing coming from the other end of walkie talkie. "Son of a Bitch."
I heard his voice coming over the speakers. I tried my best to ignore it, ringing out the customers as fast as I could to drown him out.
"Hi. How's everybody doing tonight?" I saw him at the DJ booth in the middle of the store. "I hope you're all enjoying your shopping experience so far. How do you like the mixed tape so far?" Various customers catcalled and clapped.
"What the hell is he doing?" I asked to nobody in particular.
"Talking to you the one way he's sure you'll listen." Natalie said matter of factly.
"My best friend made this mix. She actually works here. Be sure to tell Andrea how much you enjoyed it on your way out. She's up front at the register." People's necks snapped from his side of the store to mine. "Wave to everybody Andrea, let them know who you are." My cheeks flushed. I felt red all over. I had no idea what was going on and I had just gotten put in the spot light. I put my hand up slightly without even knowing what I was doing. "I hope you'll forgive me this little indulgence of playing this in front of you all, but you see this is my friend's last day working here. She's moving on to bigger and better things. I just wanted to remincse with her a little before she left. She used to make me the best mixed tapes and we used to stay up all night in her tiny room listening to them and talking about everything." He had climbed onto the DJ booth counter now, so that the whole store could see him clearly. "Looking back on it, those nights were the best nights of my life. It was just us and the music and everything felt good. I'm really going to miss those moments. Anyway, on alot of those nights I use to go on and on about the perfect ten. I was obsessed with finding a girl who met with my totally skewed standards of perfection. Not perfect but someone who was perfect for me. But that standard, my system was stupid. Nobody's perfect. I get that now. My best friend isn't. You see, she's suffering from depression, but she's trying to work it out for herself. She's trying to get better on her own terms. I'm very proud of her. I'm not perfect either. Apparantly I'm deaf and blind. You wouldn't know it to look at me. I'm blind because I couldn't see a good thing when it was right in front of my face. And I'm deaf because I never stopped to listen to my heart." Tears were streaming down my eyes, but I also had a quizzical look on my face. Just what was he getting at? "Andrea. I realize I'm a little late on this but I love you. I'm in love with you. And I want to know if you love me too. So do you?"
I stood stock still. The weight of it hit me. "Andrea?" This time I heard the walkie talkie.
I shook myself awake and picked up the walkie talkie. "Does he mean it?" I could see Josh bending down.
"What does she mean do I mean it. Of course I mean it." Boomed from the speakers.
Micheal squawked back into the walkie-talkie "He means it."
I took a long breath and then whispered into the walkie talkie. "Yes."
Over the speakers I heard "What"
"Yes" I said loudly and then I yelled it.
When it finally registered with him what my answer was, He clambered down off the DJ stand and ran in my direction. I met him halfway there. There's something about kissing someone in the stacks of your favorite record store. In the movies, you always see the heartfelt reunion, the romantic climax, and you always wish that it would happen to you. That you could have that moment. I wanted that moment, but I never thought I could have it, not ever, and especially not with Josh. But there I was, in the middle of the record store, having my moment.
"You have lousy timing."
"You wouldn't return my calls. It's not my fault. I'm perfect."
"You're deaf and blind."
"Not any more."
O.k., it needs some work, I get that. But I'm interested to see what anybody has to say about it.
Thanks in advance.
The Bloody Munchkin