She was elegant and poised and vaguely ethnic, but she had no discernable accent. Her eyes were large and dark enough to steal away a man’s soul.
She looked at him a moment before turning her attention to the hat rack.
He went back to work, stocking things on the other racks. He barely knew what he was stocking. He only knew that none of the items were hats.
He wished that they were all hats.
He wished that he could get closer to her.
He wished that he could gather up the nerve and guts to speak to her. But he had work to do.
As he worked, he painted fanciful scenarios in his head. Her coming up to him and asking if they sold fedoras or some other high class hat. Him rescuing her from a fire or some other disaster. Maybe a tornado. Maybe a flood. He would hold her in his arms. He would keep her safe.
She would be soft and beautiful in his arms.
He glanced at her again.
Just as she put on a coral-colored hat. It was designed to showcase the shape of her head with a fancy brim that swooped upwards.
She turned her head and saw him staring.
He quickly looked away and returned to his job.
Stocking and stocking and stocking and wishing and daydreaming and stocking and stocking and hoping in vain and stocking and stocking and thinking about all of the best scenarios and stocking and—–
“Excuse me, sir?”
He startled and dropped a box of plastic hyacinth bracelets, just missing his toes. He cleared his throat and turned to face her. “Uh?” He cleared his throat again. “How can I help you?”
“I need a hat for an upcoming wedding.”
His voice cracked a little out of his control as he said, “Yours?”
She laughed. “No! It’s a friend’s wedding. I was wondering if you can help me decide on what hat to wear.”
He smiled. “I’d love to help you. I mean—” He cleared his throat again. “Of course. I’d be glad to help you.”
He followed her back to the hat racks. He walked, feet on the ground, but he could have sworn that he was walking amid clouds and bright blue sky.