I noticed him mostly because of the fancy shoes he wore. Not that much of a looker, but svelte and always immaculately dressed, he had a nice presence about him. He was in his seventies, a bit taller than I, had hair, a flat stomach (being a lap swimmer every day!), and a little Colonel Sanders goatee. His Alabama accent was nice, too.
For the longest time I couldn’t figure out if he was gay or straight. Just when I thought he was straight, he’d wear fabulous shoes and dressed too nicely to be just a “guy”. However, I noticed every time I came into his shop, he’d check out my butt. It was SO obvious that many times I found myself backing out of his establishment so he couldn’t ogle my backside. He had that “come hither” smile, too. Was he or wasn’t he?
So, one day I gathered up all the courage I had and told him, “I have SUCH a crush on you!”
He replied, “You dooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo......” and then silence.
I became so flustered and literally ran out of his store with excuses that I had to “run” because I was late for some fictional meeting with friends. I groaned as I walked to my car.....why did he linger so long on the word “do”? Arrrrgh. It wasn’t the response I’d hoped for.
However, he called two days later to chat. I was completely floored. I felt like I was a teenager in high school rather than a sixty-something lady. We small-talked and he asked when I was coming back to the store. I told him I’d be there the next day.
Walking through the store, pretending to be interested in the things I’d seen 1,000 times before, I felt like an idiot when he never came out from behind the counter. He greeted me and then started talking on his cell phone. WTF? I left soon after and he yelled out a cheery “g’bye”. Damn.
For over a month, I went to his establishment a few times. He was always cordial and came out from behind the glass counter to say hello. We would exchange gossip and then I’d leave.
The last time I visited him, he seemed so interested in my presence. He asked questions about me, my work, etc. I became hopeful again. I kept trying to leave but he engaged me in conversation, so I lingered.
I heard a noise behind me and turned just in time to barely glimpse a woman behind me. She thrust a small envelope over my shoulder toward him, he took it and she started out the door, saying only, “Stinkers!”, in a beloved nickname kind of way.
He looked at her leaving and said, “What”?
I replied, “She called you Stinkers....” and noticed how he grinned.
I carefully but assertively backed out of the store.