This story was actually written a couple of years ago. I came across it again, and despite not falling into the realm of “speculative fiction” I actually like it quite a lot. I hope you enjoy it too.
I press the back of my fist against my mouth to stifle a yawn. I blink to clear my eyes, and scan the broad corridor for that tell-tell flash of copper. I finally find her again, walking briskly past a candle shop and into a trendy clothing store. Her short, red hair is unmistakable.
I hate the mall. The crowds. The noise. The Muzak playing over tinny-sounding speakers. But this is where she is, so this is where I am. I find a bench behind a planter, and watch as she looks through the racks, occasionally holding up a blouse to look in the mirror.
I feel like I picked her almost the way she picks out clothes—sometimes things just feel right. I only wish I had a cup of coffee to help keep me awake while I wait.
I must have dozed off for a minute. I blink, and suddenly she’s gone. Damn narcolepsy.
I feel panic rising up in my chest. I find myself running haphazardly down the mall, bumping into shoppers as I search for her. I can’t stand the thought that I’ve lost her again. I’ve slept through too much of my existence, and I’m tired of feeling like I’m always missing out on the best parts of life.
The thought crosses my mind that maybe I should give up on this thing. She’s so beautiful, and I’m… well… I’m me. What could I possibly have to offer someone like her?
I stop and lean against a wall to get my bearings again. Scrubbing the heels of my hands against my eyes and running a hand through my hair make me feel slightly more composed.
Of course, I know I’m being foolish. We are meant to be together. I love her. And I’m sure she….
There she is again!
She is talking on her phone. It looks odd with that purple plastic bag hanging from her elbow. She must have bought one of those tops.
I start walking towards her, a smile on my face. I can’t wait to see what she decided on. Maybe over coffee. I’m almost sure she’s seen me, but suddenly she’s moving quickly through the mall again, phone still in her hand. If I didn’t know better, I’d assume she was rushing to meet someone.
Doesn’t she realize I’m right here?
I feel myself ready to lose control and I start moving quicker. How can she act like she can’t see me? Why is she doing this?
My anger finally bubbles to the surface and I yell after her just as she pushes on the heavy brass exit door.
I run to catch up and stumble out the exit, my legs heavy with exhaustion. And there she is, right in front of me. Standing next to a cop.
“He’s the one, sweetheart. He’s been following me all day.”
In her husband’s cruiser, even the adrenaline rush from my arrest can’t keep me awake.
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