I think something may be wrong with me: I’m listening to happy songs on the radio and actually singing along. I’m smiling for no reason at all. I can almost feel my heart beating up against my chest. The sun is shining and the sky is blue and I’m not even bothered by the unseasonably warm temperatures.
I’m not normally an unhappy person. I’m usually pretty content. But everything seems so perfect. Even though I’m still working at the deli making sandwiches for rude tourists and living with my parents and our occasional late night screaming matches.
I’m not saying that I don’t want my life to change and progress. I don’t want to get stuck in this rut, even though it’s looking like a pretty good place to be stuck. And it’s not all perfect. I am frustrated by my inability to get a “real job” and put my hard-earned degree to use. And I’ve had a few bad days at work and a few moments when I just feel like I can’t do anything right. But those feeling wash away pretty quickly and I’m reminded what it feels like to be surrounded by people who love me and people who enjoy working with me and people who are willing to work at a long-distance friendship.
I don’t think I’ve ever been surrounded by so many people who make me so happy. And I’m feeling pretty good about myself lately, because I seem to make them happy too. It’s a pretty amazing feeling.
I thought I would have learned my lesson after the fiasco last summer with the janitor. In a nutshell: I had a crush on him but didn’t know him that well and then we went to the movies and I realized I really didn’t like him at all but he suddenly liked me a whole lot more. Luckily I only had a week left at work, but it was an awkward week.
This year I’m working with someone I went to high school with. The one main difference in the situation is that I feel like I know this guy much better than I ever knew the janitor. But still, I guess I don’t know him all that well. But I’ve known him for a long time and I feel like I have a better idea of who he is than I did of the other guy.
I liked him when we worked together a few years ago and I’ve been trying to keep the crushing at bay for the past month. When it comes to crushing, I can get pretty hard-core. So, I’m trying to avoid that. But I can’t deny that I like him… a lot. Every day I like him more. My favorite days at work are the ones when I’m standing next to him.
I really kind of hate myself for being so cheesy. It would all be easier if I just thought of him as a friend. Because nothing is going to happen. It’s just not. But, boy, do I have an active imagination.
And no matter how realistic I try to be, a tiny corner of my brain always pipes up and tells me it’s possible. It’s the same part that tells me that I can do anything and be anything that I want. It’s that same part that tells me that one day I will be a published writer. But it cannot be trusted. I’ve always secretly been a dreamer. But I’m just going to end up sad once again when nothing happens.
But nothing has happened for my entire life. Odds are, something has to happen eventually. Right? It’s just simple statistics. Maybe that something could happen this summer? I’m waiting… I feel like I’ve been waiting since I was fourteen. I want the waiting to be over so badly, but I’ve been expecting it to end for just as long. And clearly the odds are not in my favor.
Either way, crushing on a co-worker seems like such a bad idea. But sometimes it feels so good. In the end, I’ll probably regret it. But for now, I’ll enjoy the butterflies in my stomach and the smile I can’t keep down when he’s around me.
So, it was three years ago. The summer before my senior year of college. And I was just so ready to get on with my life and get out of that damn town. I got a job at this little deli. It was like hell on Earth. I was working with these kids right out of high school and they were bossy as hell.
Dalia was the worst. She’d only been working there for two weeks, but you would have thought she was my boss. Then there was Martin. Whitest kid you ever saw, but acted like he was straight outta the projects. Just turned eighteen, but he had a different girl every week. Don’t think one of them was ever over fifteen years old. He would just say the most inappropriate shit. Funny as hell. He asked me if I was a virgin on my first day, then winked at me and said I wasn’t his type anyway. I thought he was gay for about two weeks.
And Connor, of course. He had the dirty job. Cleaned the bathrooms, swept, kept the kitchen clean. Only worked a few hours a day, but every time I saw him I smiled a little too big. I was not the flirting type, but between Connor and Martin you would’ve thought I was the type of girl to date a different guy every night. But I never liked Martin that way, and Connor was just… so awkward.
I did like him, I really did. He wouldn’t believe me if I told him that now, but he believed it back then. If I could go back and change how that all went – I don’t know. We did have fun. But when I left on that last day, he just looked at me like I’d ripped up his heart like an old receipt.
It’s kind of a long story.