A Valentine's Day Postcard Story

“$112.58, ma’am.”

The woman nodded and handed over six twenties. The people in line sighed in quiet relief: cash was quick.

As the cashier made change, the woman sensed a commotion: someone pushing through the line to get out. She squeezed closer to the counter to make room, but the person didn’t pass.

“Excuse me, miss?”

The woman faced the man and smirked, “Yes?”

“I’m sorry to bother you, but…” his face screwed up sheepishly, and he scratched the back of his neck. “Well, I noticed you a few times while I was shopping, and…”

The cashier was ready with the woman’s change, feeling awkward and too close. People in line strained to hear. The store quieted. Aisles held their breath.

“Well, I know this is crazy. But you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, and was hoping I could take you out for dinner, or just a drink, or…”

The woman blushed, then made an exaggerated motion to brush the hair from her face; her fourth finger wore a thin gold band. The man continued, undaunted.

“Or, well anything really. Just to talk to you.”

The people in line tried to look detached; they smiled to each other, embarrassed, intrigued.

“Do you have my receipt?” the woman asked the cashier, “and may I borrow your pen?”

The cashier handed them to her, and she wrote a name and phone number on the back of the receipt, folded it slowly, and passed it to the man, letting her hand rest in his for a moment.

“Thank you,” he said, and walked to the doors, looking back often.

The aisles exhaled. The sounds of the Sunday errand became clear and loud again. The woman gathered her bags of groceries together.

The lady behind her moved forward and whispered, “Was that your real number?”

“Yes,” the woman said.

“But aren’t you married?”

“Yes,” said the woman, looking toward the door. “Isn’t he lovely?”

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