Been sniffing any yellow markers lately?
I couldn't believe I was hearing this voice. It had been, what? four years? But, yep, there she was. The girl from the campus bookstore, short brown hair and those sharp green eyes. Standing in line behind me in the Pizza joint on the edge of downtown. She was smiling, satisfied with herself for recognizing me before I saw her.
Whatcha doin' with yourself? I haven't seen you around for awhile?
She had this way of bobbing side to side as she talked- foot to foot-that reminded me of a metronome. She had gained maybe five pounds, but it favored her. I always thought she was too thin. The early fall sun had burned her cheeks and they were apple red. Fetching, as ever.
"Well, I left town for awhile, now I'm back on the other side of the lectern, I'm a grad assistant in English."
She raised a soft eyebrow and grinned, then looked down at her nails (unpainted and chipped). When she looked up again I could tell she was going to ask me something. "Go ahead and ask, you were never so shy before."
She used to tease me about everything. My clothes (Wow, that is like the THIRD T shirt I have seen you in-very striking!). My hair (It's neat how its too long in the front and too short in the back at the same time, who does your hair anyway?) And the markers. I lost them on a weekly basis. She used to hint that maybe I was sniffing them. (Inhalant abuse is a nasty habit she would say-mock serious) So as I kept coming back to buy more I always found my way to her register. She had an Odie dog glued to the top of it and a Toad the Wet Sprocket sticker on the side. It was the 80s, what can I tell you. But we never moved past the verbal sparring. I was dating others on and off and I knew she was a good three, maybe four years younger. We left the tension as it was, in the store.
Well, I'm not in English, but I'm still a student here-last semester in Music theory. Does that mean we can't...you know,,, do stuff?
She bit the corner of her mouth as she looked away again. The red neon sign blinked in the window over her shoulder as we both considered the question.
"No, it doesn't mean that. I think I would like you to come over and eat some take out some time, maybe, I don't know... sniff some yellow pens, does that sound OK? "
She grinned, surprised I think, at her own forwardness. OK, great...well, I gottago
She scribbled her number on the back of cardboard coaster and then scooted out the door-clunky heels scuffing the floor as she left. A thin black line in her wake. Something else to remember her by.