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Flash fiction by Maggie Wing
Maggie writes software and stories in Silicon Valley. She is currently at work on her first two novels.
The door swung open and just like that it was the moment I’d been waiting for. His hair had more gray in it, which suited him, and it was longer, which didn’t, but it was really him -- not the guy who sort of looked like him who came in every Tuesday and bought a three-pack of Trojans. The Trojan guy had kept me in this job for a lot longer than I’d intended, just because of the resemblance.
I stayed behind the counter and felt surprisingly calm. He didn’t see me. He headed straight back to the cold drinks and got a Pepsi. I knew it -- he just wasn’t the Coke type. He walked up the aisle and picked up a bag of Funyons. Then he looked at me.
He didn’t recognize me at first, but that was understandable. It had been over two years since I left ValSys.Still, though, when I’d spent so much time picturing his face, imagining the clean line of his jaw under my fingertips, when I’d spent so many groggy mornings looking into his eyes in the photo on the company website while I ate my toast, you’d think at least a little of that energy would get through to him, somehow.
I’d never stalked him, really, but that’s what the HR woman implied. And while she did use the term “restraining order”, I knew she was just trying to scare me. he couldn’t have known I’d driven by his house, or watched as his wife picked their kids up from school.
They laid me off and it was hard for a while. I took the job at 7-11 after no one else would hire me. Interviews would go well, but I never heard back after I gave them my references.
None of that mattered now.
“Hey,” he said. When he came up to the counter I caught a whiff of booze on his breath. “I know you.” He smiled. That smile. But the dazzle was off of it. He was looking at me wrong. He was looking at my chest.
He opened the Funyons and ate a few while he looked at me. He was still beautiful, just a little seedy. I walked around the counter because for almost two years I had imagined standing next to him right in front of the magazine rack.
Suddenly he grabbed me and kissed me, hard. He tasted like onions and bourbon and he let his tongue flop in my mouth like a fat sardine. Then he looked at me again. Something had changed in his eyes.
“Where do I know you from?”
He left without paying but I didn’t report it. I regret that now.
He drives by my apartment now every night around eleven, skulking past in his black Lexus just as I’m sitting down to watch the news. And at exactly eleven-thirty my phone rings, and I listen carefully to the pause and the click at the other end.
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