#59 – Flowers in the Ice – John Weagly

Tony and Maria in WEST SIDE STORY.  Rick and Ilsa in CASABLANCA.  Romeo and Juliet in ROMEO AND JULIET.  Star-crossed lovers, each and every one.

Just like me and Lily.

We have so much in common.  I believe in “Save Money – Live Better.”  She believes in “Save Money – Live Better.”  I think the front-door greeters would be good stand-ins for zombie movies.  She thinks the front-door greeters would be good stand-ins for zombie movies.  I wear a navy blue shirt and khaki pants, she wears a navy blue shirt and khaki pants.  We are meant to be together!

The problem is I only get to see her in the break-room, and only then if our shifts match up.  She works in flowers and gifts.  I work in grocery.  We might as well be on opposite sides of the world.

We started at the same time, both of us hired for the holiday rush.  We went through orientation together, I talked to her a little, I made her laugh.  There was definitely a spark.  If I can borrow a metaphor from Lily’s milieu, the seed was planted.  And as Dillon says in ALIEN 3, “Within each seed there is the promise of a flower.”  But as soon as our training was done, she was placed in her department and I was placed in mine.   After New Year’s, we were both kept on.  I was hoping they’d shift us around, let us try other parts of the store, place us closer to each other.  No luck.  I guess, for now, we both belong where we are.

It’s maddening!  Just by the very nature of what we do, where we were assigned, I can’t be with her.  She works with chrysanthemums and marigolds.  And me?  My specialty is frozen food.  I work with fish sticks and tater tots.

Sometimes I wander over to her side of the store to see how the other half lives.  I see her surrounded by bursts of color, happy greeting cards and teddy bears.  She smiles at me, and it feels like the sun is rising in my heart and warmth flows over my entire body.  I smile back at her, give her a little wave, then head back to my life in the frozen wasteland.

But it won’t be like this forever.

I’ve talked to my supervisor about moving up to DVD’s.  He says that if I familiarize myself with the products, my transfer is a distinct possibility.  DVD’s are right next to Flowers and Gifts.  And as far as the Wal-Mart ladder goes, the hierarchy, they’re both pretty much on the same rung.

C. C. Baxter and Fran Kubelik in THE APARTMENT.  Benjamin and Elaine in THE GRADUATE.  Harry and Sally in WHEN HARRY MET SALLY.  They all ended up together, each and every one.

Just like me and Lily.  Someday.  “Made it, Ma!  Top of the world!”

Until then, all I can do is close my eyes, pretend I can feel the warmth of her smile and picture her surrounded by flowers.

~ John Weagly, Chicago, Illinois

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