I specifically remember it was a Monday morning. The reason for remembering was that on my way to work, people looked cross and hung over from the weekend and totally unreceptive to my cheerfulness. My camera was around my neck because you just never know when you are going to capture that one in a million picture of a mockingbird or a train or a cloud, for example. In my little town I was considered a little odd because of that camera, and probably because of a few other things, but soon people became used to me and no longer stared. When the staring stopped, they mostly just looked down at the ground to avoid eye contact with me, like I was a witch doctor or something just waiting to cast a spell. Lucky for them the majority of them did look down. I was an up-looker, and it got me in a little trouble. Maybe genetically these folks were geared to keep their eyes on the ground to watch for danger. It possibly was not to avoid eye contact with me at all. In hindsight, I see that.
For two years I had worked at a little bookstore downtown. Work was an easy walk from my house and I not only saved tons of gas money, but also was toned up from the aerobics.* *Toned up is not the same thing as being slender, which I was not. And there just could not have been a better place for a geek like me to work. In two years I had probably read fifty books from the shelves, always careful to not smudge or wrinkle the pages or leave any tell-tale signs that the book was actually not a virgin to the person who took it home. I hate to admit it, but that is the type of relationship I have with books. It is almost a sexual gratification to read the final page and just as an intense pleasure to read the first page of the next pick. Luckily business was not booming, thanks to the economic catastrophe we were in, and the Kindle, so between dusting shelves and waiting on a few customers, reading became my recharge station.
It was on one of those shelf-cleaning expeditions that I met him. He was gorgeous from the top of his head to the tips of his Nikes. I have read a few romance novels, and I always shook my head at the descriptions of the men. But believe me when I tell you, this guy was sizzling! He was tan, had these gorgeous biceps, and even through his t-shirt I could make out his perfectly-sculpted abs. And his hair was to die for: Long, straight, just below his shoulders, black, shiny. Any adjective you would like to have attached to your hair, this babe had it.
Reaching my hand through the empty spot on the shelf from which I had just removed my latest read, I touched his face, or meant to. Instead I poked his left eye pretty hard and the moment became less a romantic chance meeting than a rush to the nearest ER with me driving his car like a crazy person. What is the attraction between men and manual transmissions? Hello! They now make what is known as an automatic transmission that does all this clutching and gear grinding for you! I was starting and stopping like the Energizer Bunny on crack, and his screaming about how expensive his car was and how much pain he was in from my claw-like fingernail nearly gouging out his left eyeball, was making me a bit irritable and nervous. And here is where things took a strange turn.