Maybe today she'll say his name. He is due that; he is her supervisor. He is also just who he is – a shoe store manager.
Heat floods his cheeks as he watches her hips sway, curves coaxing promises of flirting from the floral pattern of her affordable skirt. She seems to dance as she dusts the BOGO signs: "Buy-one-get-one." Thanks to years of marketing, "free" is implied – not contractual. "Buy-one-get-one-free" sales were last seen in the 1980s, a lifetime ago for Tim – or anyone. His dad's friend made Tim manager 23 years ago; since then, Tim hadn't found reason to go anywhere else, be anything else.
Today is his last day. It's the store's last day.
At 52, Tim's no fool. Even so, he's foolish enough to wish for her kiss. There are no dreams of an affair. No silly plots for a ridiculed future set in May and December. Just a wish. For her kiss. A minuscule vision to pass middle age's duller evenings that give way to the day's loneliest hours, those dark, damnable minutes when a wife's sleepy sighs and careful snores sculpt a formidable fortress. Outside a queen's castle is a cold place, one where the tiniest touch is treasured, a caress cherished. Hope for change is found in a workplace, where a wish for a kiss becomes well crafted.
I won't see her tomorrow.
It's more than a fleeting suspicion.
Cee Lo's "Bright Lights, Bigger City" comes on.
I'll ask her to dance.