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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"You're Still the One I Kiss Goodnight" Chapter 1: Zing

He had me with a flipped Rubber Band.



I met Matt when I was a Sr. in high school. His younger brother, Ralph and I had attended school together since 8th grade. I didn't meet Matt at school, however, but at our place of employment, good ole' Fred Meyer.

I had been dating a guy from work, *"Steve"; a tall blond who unfortunately knew he was gorgeous, and dated a lot of girls. I found this out when my friend Amber and I went to his school to surprise him and his buddy with lunch. He had a long term High School sweetheart, supposedly he planned on marrying her after graduation. Just a few days later a co-worker, "Natalie", informed me while we were in the break room, that she had been dating him too. Boy, were we all naïve of this Casanova.
Speaking of mismatched relationships, my friend Susie, mentioned she wanted to ask a new employee out on a date who worked in Electronics. I hadn't seen the "new" guy yet. I was all for her getting out and having fun because her life was pretty boring, so I told her she should go for it.
I was working in the children's clothing department on a Tuesday when I saw out of the corner of my eye one of the guys in electronics talking to a handsome, squared-jawed blond. Seeing only his profile, I was intrigued. He looked foreign (he still gets that a lot.)

I didn't see him for another few weeks. I was getting ready for inventory and worked the "death" shift (11p.m. to 5 a.m.) to make sure all the stock was accounted for and out on the floor if possible, before the store opened later in the morning.

Fred Meyer had a large stockroom that was split into 3 bays. The farthest away from mine was the Home Improvement Dept., then a small cubby hole where the electronics were stocked. The main section held all the hard line items: toilet paper, shampoos, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, books, toys etc..., The back of the main section also held the trash compactor, and forklift bay. Our section held all the soft side items: all the clothing, shoes, towels, and other domestic supplies. 

My work responsibility was to either work in the stockroom hanging clothes; work on the sales floor putting the clothes out on the racks, or manning the various dressing rooms. I despised the dressing rooms. People were slobs and the clothes built up to a record number of re-buttons, zips, re-buckling, and hanging them back on hangers. I already did that before the clothes hit the sales floor. It was like Deja vue.
I loved working the children's department, not only because the head of the department, Inga, was a hoot, but because it was the farthest away from my boss, Christine. She was mean! To be honest, I got in a lot of trouble while working in the women's clothing department. It was too close to the shoe department where Susie work and we talked way too much.
Besides being far away from my boss, the other perk of the children's department was the people watching. I loved people watching!  There was just more activity to observe from my racks at the front of the store instead of in the Women's department which was located in the middle of the store. I was just happier working and being entertained at the same time.


Children's is where a rubber band zinged from across the store and hit me in the head. I looked around and saw not an inking of a hand that would've shot it. The cashiers were packed with lines of customers waiting to check out. The service desk girls were running back and forth between the cashiers who needed money and customers returning unwanted items. It never occurred to me to look over at electronics. So the rubber band shooter was a mystery that went unsolved. I went home and forgot about it.
The next night another rubber band. Another mystery. I looked in the opposite direction thinking maybe "Steve" was shooting them, then remembered he wasn't even working. I went home, and again forgot about it.

A couple of days of being off work, and I went back on the late shift. This time I get hit in the shoulder. No one is caught guilty.

I go on a break.

When I came off break I was supposed to hang some women's clothes, yet still man the children's department. I decided I was going to set up my portable hanging bar face forward towards the registers so that I could catch the shooter of those rubber bands. A buzzing sound and a rubber band flew over my head. My eyes went searching... A glimpse of strong, shoulders shaking, caught my eye. There was the new guy acting like he was pricing cameras and trying not to give himself away.

Finally, I'd caught the culprit! Just to make sure though, I didn't react. I go back to unwrapping, de-pinning and putting white dress shirts on hangers, then placing them on the hanging bar; ever slightly glancing over at the new guy. I'm a sucker for blondes, and this one has the hair of Ren McCormick. 



My mind is reeling - how do I react appropriately, when this guy is GORGEOUS?  How do I let him know that I'm interested? Do I smile, wink or just walk over and talk to him? What does a gal that looks like she's 12 years old do to catch a guy's attention even though she already has it, but doesn't think she does?  Was he just bored and being obnoxious; was he really interested?  That is what I needed to find out.

On to the hunt, for information. This guy had already gone on a date with my good friend, Suzie, so heading in the direction of the Shoe Dept. I went. Who was he?  What type of personality did he have?  I found out his name was Matt. He was shy. He was straight and he was incredibly built. That is all she could tell me.

So... he's a guy of little words? That works. I mean, I am a girl full of words, this really could be the one!


Three weeks of flirting, three weeks of wondering why he didn't get the fact that I was interested. What the heck was going on? It was driving me crazy that he didn't make a move.

My 18th birthday was coming. My parents bought me a VCR for my present, and little do they know because of it, they also got me a guy!

The Day after my birthday, I went into the store to purchase blank VCR tapes. The gorgeous guy was working. I said hi. I asked him for advice on what the best blank tape would be and he showed me my options. He didn't chitchat so, to make things less uncomfortable, I talked, I asked questions, his answers were bulleted so, I talked some more. He seemed to want to ask me something, but never did. I left the store and went home.

As I walked into the house, my mom was talking on the phone to my best friend, Amber. She wanted me to go swimming, so I changed into a sea foam green Hawaiian floral bikini, under a sea foam sweater tank, and peach shorty, short shorts.

There was this nagging feeling going on as I changed. I felt like I was missing something, what was it that I was missing? I had one of those moments where you really want to slap yourself in the head, The aha moment -- I had never made my purchase!!  Seriously?  I decided I needed those tapes something awful and  was going to go back to the store before heading to Amber's house. (I lived 2 blocks away, but it took 20 minutes to walk.)

What had I been thinking?  Not about purchasing anything with money, that was for sure.

I was distracted, was all I could tell my folks as I walked right back out the door.

The sidewalk I traveled seemed like it a constant conveyor belt  aimlessly moving forward, but not heading anywhere fast. I wanted to run, I needed those tapes!  Let's be honest, it wasn't the tapes I needed but to be in the same vicinity as that gorgeous guy. My perceived knowledge that he wanted to ask me something was driving me to want to spend more time with him...
*some names have been changed to protect the stupid players.*