A Tease

You called him a tease, do you remember?

This was way back when, our younger days. We had nicknames for all of them: some letters (tnt), some numbers (262). But him you called a tease.

Because you had a crush on him. You were too shy to go talk to him, so you’d hide in the coolers, pretending to be stocking the milk. But you always left your view open, so you could see him stocking the end of the rows.

He knew it too, that’s why those rows always took the longest, the ones right in front of the coolers. They seemed to take forever, but no one really noticed.

Until that one day.

You came out of the coolers, to go talk to him, but he was gone. “Already left for lunch,” someone said. “He’ll be back soon,” but this time was different.

He didn’t come back.

And you worked tirelessly on the search committee, willing him to come back so you could see him one more time. You prayed and crossed your fingers and wore the shirt you thought he’d like best. You scoured bars in town, the pool tables, the bookies, all while hiding your sorrow.

But you knew he was gone. Forever.

And when it hit you like a ton of bricks, you found solace in another’s arms. And from there you found love.

So it was all worth it, wasn’t it? To disappear? To know that my leaving caused you to find love that would last, instead of a lust that would fizzle.

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