The first thing that struck me was his eyes. They were a deep brown, like well-rubbed wood. They were guarded, yet intrusive; introverted, yet fierce and somehow protective.
He didn't look like the average mall security guard to me.
I meandered through the Natural Sciences section of my favorite Books-a-Million and peered over the shelves at him.
He sauntered to the end of Books-a-Million’s door, turned, and sauntered back across the opening. His eyes searched up the north corridor. He turned again, pacing the width of the doorway. He searched down the south corridor. He flexed his fingers and rolled his shoulders. Then he looked straight at me and caught me looking at him. He looked startled, like he'd been caught being naughty. I sometimes have that effect on people, being a teacher, so I smiled reassuringly at him.
He looked positively shocked.
Then I knocked over the entire section of Rachel Carson's books, and the mall security guard with the eyes that could melt steel disappeared from my life forever.
Or so I thought . . .
I tried to remember the fullness of his lips, the strong angular nose, the rounded chin that softened the steel marble jaw. I guessed he was six foot three, maybe four. His eyebrows were so solemn. But my mind kept returning to his fingers. There were long and tenuously slender. They were immaculate with pearl-like nails, cut straight across the top.
The clerks knew me well, and helped me return the books to the shelf. Jeff, who was completing his seventh year at the local community college and worked here on Wednesdays, jovially reminded me of all the other shelves and collections I'd knocked over in the last few years. Customers gathered around us to listen and join in the laughter.
When I told my best friend Christie about him, she asked me if I was ovulating.
My mother, who lives in
second husband, told me what a wonderful life I had and reminded me that not
everyone was meant to get married. New Mexico
But my possum Rush listened and growled at the appropriate times.
Burdines was having a sale Thursday. Not that I had any money to spend, or needed anything in particular . . . They do have a nice petite section, and my size twelve body - at five foot two -- enjoyed trying on lovely things that I have no place to wear.
I found the most stunning emerald green silk dress, smothered in sequins. Not that I would ever have the courage to wear it -- I tried it on.
As I gazed into the three-sided mirror, I knew a moment in my life when I felt desirable and gorgeous. Gone was the second grade teacher; a red-headed vixen in a sexy magic gown stood in her place. Even my curly red hair, that usually made me look like I'd walked through a gale-force wind, looked ravishing, wild, and almost hussy-like. As I peered in wonder into the mirror, HE saw me. The security guard who obviously wasn't a security guard stood behind me, looking at me. I mean LOOKING at me with the most adoring look of amazement on his face. Every sequin sparkled. Every dead silkworm sent its essence to radiate through the silk and HE saw me.
Somewhere in the accessories department, a Yankee lit a cigarette in a blatantly non-smoking section. Foam gushed from every ceiling nozzle in the store.
It took me two days to fade the green streaks from my legs.
© Evelyn Rainey
Available for publication.