A Saturday in May
Lottie picks out her outfit: Her rainbow-coloured dress, her dark blue cardigan and her tanned boots. She lets her curly blonde hair down and slips on her outfit, feeling pleased with herself- she loves this dress. She feels a little nervous. She touches her pink cheeks, hoping it will magically cool hem down, but concludes that it's a relatively chilly outside so the walk to work will cool them down. And if she continued to be rosy and nervous after work what with her walk to the shop, she hopes the same principle will apply. She almost eggs on a chilly day.
Here's a little background information.
Almost every day when she was younger (except Sundays- they weren't open on Sundays then), Lottie went into the corner shop to buy sweets- whether it be on a Saturday afternoon or straight after school. She loved the shop. In time (her dentist would be happy to hear) she grew out of the habbit and only went to the corner shop on Saturdays. She went to pick up a treat for her family after she finished her Saturday day. One Saturday she was surprised to see a new face behind the counter.
The face behind the counter? Lottie often heard clusters of girls saying exactly what she would have said if she was their age- and it was always a translation of her actual thoughts into ten year old excited talk. "He's so cute!" they would say. "Did you hear his laugh!?" One time Lottie heard a girl say in dismay, "Why does he never work during the week?" which was exactly Lottie's sentiments one Wednesday after sixth form when she fancied a treat.
It has been over a year since Lottie first saw the face behind the counter. In her rainbow-coloured dress, she leaves work and feels herself shake her head. She feels silly and somewhat lightheaded. Almost every Saturday she has spent a little longer than she would at any other shop, giggling with the face behind the counter. The face with no name but with bundles of humour and kindness. The face who always seems a little shy, making Lottie a lot more shy than she knew she was. No one did that to her. And today was the day.
She doesn't know what that means exactly but she knew today was different.
The week before, Harriet (the lady who owns the shop) had joked with the face with no name that he "ought to get a girlfriend" and Lottie had overheard. Since then it occurred to her that she adored these chats and giggles every Saturday too much to let that statement make her feel bitter. She wasn't overly ambitious. She wanted a name and she only daydreamed about what may come of it. Okay, she thinks, I'm getting ahead of myself.
As Lottie pushes open the door, she is a little disappointed to see no one behind the counter. Well, not to see him anyway. The disappointment is short-lived. "We ought to stop bumping into each other like this," he grins, making Lottie's heart feel the kind of "melty" feeling they talk about in films. She giggles and he seems a little embarrassed. His smile doesn't vanish though.
The shop is small and as Lottie picks out her family's wishes (a chocolate bar for her brother, a packet of peanuts for her mum and dad and a pack of ice-creams for after dinner), she continues the conversation she would re-live exactly for many days to come. "Or maybe we ought to stop bumping into each other like this without a name to address each other by."
"You know," he says, sparkles in his eyes but a level of shyness that makes Lottie feel gloriously light. "I've been thinking the same thing for too long now."
Lottie perches her elbow on the surface like she always does; her face on her palm. She likes how they talk. It's always how two best friends would talk- nothing more, nothing less. She thinks that's quite a way to talk to someone she doesn't really know. The sparkles behind his eyes lets her know he enjoys it, even if it's not how she does. Her heart momentarily sinks at the thought. Remembering why she's there, she grins at him. "You first."
"Why does that make me nervous?" He laughs. "I'm Oliver."
"O-lir-vah," Lottie pronounces it slowly and laughs. "I've remembered that now. You know I always thought your name was Saturday Boy?"
He laughs. "And what's yours, Saturday Girl?"
"I feel like I should play it a little more mysterious than that."
"We're over a year into this thing. We've surely skipped the mysterious introductions." Lottie momentarily pauses at a loss for words and he realises that she's dwelling on him knowing it's been over a year. He looks down. She likes how he talks to him- so easily and with completely friendliness.
"Lottie." She sounds nervous, but her giggly feeling doesn't disappear. He looks up and smiles at her. A happy quiet evolves but Lottie breaks it. "Shame I'm moving this week."
Oliver looks stunned. "What? I've only just learnt your name!"
Lottie bites her lip, stifling a giggle and Oliver can tell.
"Oh, we have an actress on our hands do we? Shame; I'd have been more pressed to see if you were free this week." As soon as he say it, he looks down again, as if there were no offer in the first place- not even in essence. He scans the items through and Lottie hands him the money, their fingers lingering a little, and feeling much nicer than a normal shop-customer-hand-touch event.
"Then I guess I'll make it pressing. Free this week, Saturday Boy?"
Oliver shakes his head with the best expression on his face- maybe Lottie's favourite expression ever. The expression is solidified by his nod, "Yes, of course."
"Wednesday- five o'clock?"
Lottie scoops the treats into her bag and Oliver laughs, "Yes. That's perfect."
Knowing the meeting was much too short, but also knowing she needs to punch the sky and celebrate like a lame girl in a movie, Lottie grins with no regrets; he mirrors the lame grins back. "See you later Saturday boy."
A happy short story for the blog!
Stories & Memories,
The Girl in the Moonlight.