“So you’ll be going soon?” I say almost in a pout.
“Yeah, this is my last day here. Gotta go home.” The man says not noticing my sad tone.
He did say he was going to leave someday but you know, I’m finding it hard to keep my emotions in check. I don’t know how I feel about him but that may be me falling back on denial knowing he’d be gone soon. Even so, I came to our store knowing that I didn’t have any professional obligation. I just wanted to see him one last time… Trying to change the mood I shift both my hands behind my head and look at the ceiling while answering in my semi usual cheerful tone I reserved to use only around him.
“That’s too bad, I kinda wanted you to stay.” The words came out empty he knew better than anyone I sucked at conversation.
“I would if I could but this job was only a side gig to do while in college. Now that I graduated, this job isn’t enough to keep that apartment on its own and that point I might as well get a job that uses my degree.”
He stated this with his usual enthusiasm as he folded the next shirt on the table topped with shirts not in a heaping pile screaming to be folded. In a bad attempt to move on from the topic I tried to move on to a happier scenario. I pretended to smile as I bent down to look up at his hunched figure.
“It’s alright, I suppose this doesn’t guarantee we won’t see each other again.”
It was then that he smirked his usual smirk but this time I felt different about it. My heart flustered at the sight of it but I had to keep my composure or else he’d see through my façade. His next response is what really caught me off guard though.
“Why? Got a crush on me or something? I mean who could blame you, a handsome guy like me makes the girls swoon.” He said this with his usual gaudy tone he uses when he talks about himself.
“Sure… whatever you say…” I try to muster a smile but too much and I might actually laugh in his face.
“What’s with that awkward smirk, you know I’m right” This time his smile holds onto his lips begging for me to lean in closer but I refrain from the thought.
“Ha ha.” Is all I say.
We continue this friendly banter as he continued to tidy up the men’s section. 45 minutes is all I had left with him as I would most likely be allowed to stay til the employees actually finish cleaning but I didn’t want to over use my privileges like some entitled brat. But as time grew closer to our closing hour, I started to grow anxious until it was time for me to go. But I promised myself I’d hold myself atleast until I got to my car.
“You know, I’m gonna miss this place. Everyone here was like family you know.” The man shouted my way as I walked down to the front entrance.
I had to hold back my tears so that no one would see but I desperately wanted to turn around and see that stupid smirk on his face one last time. I wanted to run towards him and make him catch me in his arms just so I’d kiss him on the cheek but you know, that didn’t seem like something I’d do. Instead I turned around and smiled. I shouted back in the most upbeat tone I could make.
“We’ll miss you too.”