He could see her behind the counter when he pulled up. Did he know she would be here? He had thought of her that morning for no particular reason, now here she was. Maybe he somehow knew that she worked weekends.
“Hi”, he said, pushing his way through the glass door which would have opened automatically had he waited for it. There was no one in the store but her. “I haven’t seen you in awhile.” She cocked her head slightly to one side expectantly so he pushed on. “I must not come in when you’re here.”
“You just don’t come in when I’m here”, she said.
She took his lottery card and ran it through the machine. Her face, round and scrubbed pink, opened in a smile when she handed him his ticket. Her teeth were tiny, baby-teeth but perfectly aligned. None of the others here had all of their teeth. At least he had that impression.
He opened his wallet when she said “Two dollars” and rifled through the receipts and paper scraps finally finding two triple-folded ones that he handed over. He failed trying to think of something clever and said, “I think I have enough.”
“Yep, you do” she said taking the bills with a smile. “Won’t have to make you mop the floors now.”
Taking the ticket and again, failing to think of anything clever, he looked at the floor and said, “I don’t think I could get down that low.”
“I think you could get down pretty low.”
What? Wait. On his way to the door he veered left, cutting off a quick exit to stare into the cooler. He’d buy an ice tea if he had another buck. He saw the reflection of his paint-spattered jeans, torn sweatshirt, his shapeless raincoat and ball cap. “Christ”, he thought and moved to the door again.
“Have a good one”, he said this time waiting for the hydraulic whoosh to open it.
“You too”, her smile was noncommittal to the point that it almost not a smile at all.
She works Saturdays he told himself trying to carve it in his memory. I’ll have something better to say next week.
Inside, she wondered idly where she had seen him before.