Valentine’s Day 2013

by jkatejohnston

Dear Max,

I just called a judge “dude.”

It’s not as good as it sounds.  I went to See’s Candy, and Judge Connelly was standing in line.  He’s the only judge who takes the bus.  The rest of them park their big fancy cars in special judgy parking spaces under the courthouse.  So I said to him, “Another delinquent, shopping at the last minute on Valentine’s day.”

“Oh, hello,” he said, “But it’s tomorrow.”

“It’s today, isn’t it?”  I appealed to the guy behind him.  “Today is the 14th, right?”  The guy confirmed it.

“Oh.”

“Dude, you’re lucky you ran into me.”

And that was it.  Perhaps it did not deserve the build up.

 *

Every morning in the basement of Social Services I lift weights and do my little stretches for about twenty minutes.  There’s a big empty room down there where they do exercise classes during lunchtime.  In the morning it’s empty except for one guy.  I’m sure before I came along he had the place to himself. 

So every day we say hello, we say goodbye, and other than that, no words, no eye contact, opposite corners of the room.  It’s a civilized method for two grownups of opposite sex to huff and puff alone together.

He’s younger than I am, fit, white, technically good-looking in way that’s not at all interesting to me.  I’m older, wearing my cycling tights (yes, those again), whatever long sleeved T shirt came to hand that morning, and have my usual bike-helmet-enhanced hairdo. 

Social Services takes up a whole block.  There are two buildings, seventeen stories each, connected by a breezeway at the second floor.  It’s a big place, and I will never know most of the people who work there.

Yesterday afternoon I had a meeting with a woman in the Investigations Bureau.  Her office is in the other building, on the 11th floor.  So I went over there and accidentally got off on the 10th floor.  I went into the office area to the left of the elevators, and there was the guy from the weight room. 

And I was just flustered.  And when flustered, I talk.  “I found you,” I said, “Just kidding I’m looking for–” and in my confusion I forgot the name of the person I was supposed to be meeting.  Then it came to me, “–Ranni.”

“Oh, hi.  Uh, Ranni?  That doesn’t sound familiar.”

“Where am I?”

“Informations Systems.”

“Oh.  I’m looking the the Investigations Bureau.”

“Oh.  One floor up.”

And I left. 

Would you like to know what outfit I was wearing? Clingy polka dot dress, curvy 40’s-ish high heals, lots of lipstick.  And I think I noticed him noticing me.  I looked kind of good, or at least kind of a lot better than I do in the basement. 

It was like a romantic comedy without the romance.  And now I have to go to work and do my weights and there he’ll be, and it just feels awkward.  Why do I have to open my mouth ever?

*

Enzo:  I’m smashing a penny to make it into a diamond.

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