Bangerz.

The bright florescent lights from the grocery store glow behind him, creating his dark silhouette in front of me.  He has his hands balled lazily in his pockets while he leans on the front of his car. The hood of his work sweatshirt is pulled up and over his green beanie; only moments earlier I poked fun at him, “Look at how thug you look with your hood like that!” as we walked out of work.

He’s watching me scroll through my playlist, a mix of songs I compiled under one word: Bangerz. I can see the outline of his smirk – the crinkle in his eyes, the laugh lines deepening as he watches me make a fool of myself in the poorly lit parking lot – while he endures my subjecting him to 679 by Fetty Wap, Kiss Me Thru the Phone by Souja Boy, and Ben Fold’s rendition of Bitches Ain’t Shit. He’s laughing at me-no with me, as I’m laughing at myself too.

We’re nearing the end of this interaction. He asks if the car I drove to work is my new one, straightening up from the hood of his car.

“No,” I say. “It’s my sisters. I have it while she’s in Florida. Which reminds me! I was meaning to ask you this but kept forgetting so here it is now” his right eyebrow raises and the corner of his mouth lifts up in an almost comical expression of ‘oh really? What is it now?’ “Can you pick me up for work and drop me off after work next Saturday?”

He tosses his head back dramatically, like I’m asking him a bigger favor than it is, but he can’t fully wipe off the smile from his face.

“Do you know how much longer my drive is going to be if I do that?!” he whines.

I laugh at him and say “What? Like five minutes?! C’mon please?” I beg a little.

He tilts his head back a little and looks at me, his face now set in mock defeat and a lazy half smile. “Yeah, ok. I can do that. Next Saturday?”

“Yep! Next Saturday. Thank you Zach.” I give him a big grin. I’m sure he shakes his head as he laughs at me.

I like to think maybe while I was jamming to those bangers in front of him all he could think about was what a cute dork I am. How pretty he might’ve thought I looked bathed in the streetlights of the parking lot while I did a terrible pseudo-dance to terrible rap music. How maybe he wished there was more time for us.

Other important things he said today:

I took off my glasses at one point and he came up as back up cashier and when he was done with the customer he turned and saw they were gone and said “Wow I don’t think I’ve ever seen you without glasses on before. You look alright.” And gave a quick nod of approval.

Later under similar circumstances, I had just come back from lunch and had been upstairs in the breakroom which is currently being remodeled. I was sitting in a booth seat covered in sawdust and hadn’t thought about what that might mean for my black pants. Zach, sly dog he is, as he’s turning to leave the check stand, goes, “Don’t take this to be inappropriate, but the backside of your pants are covered in dirt.” I just laughed and explained to him as I myself realized why that happened. I think I thanked him too for pointing it out.

I tend to be a pretty sassy lady, especially when we’re nearing closing because it’s been a long day and I’m tired. I can’t remember what it is that I said that prompted this comment, but he said something along the lines of, “wow, don’t hang around Naomi too much around closing; her fangs come out.” and i laughed and apologized and said something like I was working on being less mean and he said “No, keep it. It’s good” while his face was plastered in his signature Smirk of Approval because I swear to God that’s the only type of facial expression he makes; some kind of a smirk.

And that is Zach. The original Cute Coworker. And that is the most recent “development” if you could call it that.

 

goddammit.

this is a strange feeling or maybe realization i’m having.

i’m happy. but it’s like i can’t accept that i’m happy because i feel like i could definitely be happier. and things could definitely be better. and i don’t have all the things i want right now. and i’m still making stupid and impulsive decisions that probably aren’t good for my emotional health in the long run.

but in reality i’m actually in such a good, supported place.

even if i don’t have sophie.

even if i don’t necessarily feel like i have “my people”.

i definitely have some people.

the place i work almost feels like home to me, and that’s such a cool thing to say about my place of employment, especially when I’m only 17 and it’s only a hardware store and i’m only a cashier. but i genuinely love the people there. and it’s going to be so weird when next year i’m not working there anymore because I’m living with my sister in another city going to community college and finishing up high school through that.

and at school i have people; not quite people who mean as much to me as like Halie or Logan but still people.

i have kaleigh who really, truly does light up my day everytime I see her. There’s Casey and Sydney and Joanna who just make me laugh until I’m blue in the face. Stacy and Kenzie and Sam J who are just silly. Kami who listens to everything I have to say and cares too. And Sam M who is probably pretty easily my best friend. I don’t know how to explain him or me or us. I’ve applied the term brother but idk. And Savanna who makes me laugh and is someone I feel like I can genuinely talk to as well. And there’s others who I see throughout the day and they all help make it a little brighter too but in smaller ways.

but it’s still just… it feels good but it doesn’t feel right. Like it’s a temporary solution and I would ultimately like to just have my more permanent solution right now rather than have to wait for it.

And there’s the possibility that next year when I’m moved in with Emily I’m going to be worse off than I am now but I’m in more of position to feel ok with risking that?

I don’t know. Things just don’t feel right at the moment.

And I don’t know what I want to happen with Doug. I don’t know if I want us fucking to be a one time thing or if I want to do it all or if I want us fooling around casually to become a regular thing I have no idea. I feel like ultimately I don’t want it. I feel like I’m just going to feel dirty afterward; guilty like when I first started masterbating and I felt like I was doing something wrong by doing it. I don’t know.

I just need another cig but I’m all out.