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A Budding Romance at Walmart
by Kelly F. Barr
As I stood waiting for my dad to finish in the self-checkout line at Walmart, I saw a very attractive blonde approaching the area. I tried to watch her without making it obvious.
She walked to the register right behind us, and I watched as she began ringing up her items.
My heart sank as a guy wearing baggy black jeans covered in chains, a dog collar, and about ten earrings in one ear approached the girl of my dreams. I took a step toward them in an effort to overhear their conversation.
Mr. Chainman spoke first. “Hello, gorgeous. You got somewhere you need to be after you finish here?”
The girl’s eyes moved swiftly from his head to the floor, where his baggy jeans covered wherever his feet were hidden by about four extra inches of pant-legs. He was actually walking on them.
She forced a smile. “Actually, I do have to be somewhere.”
“Well, how ’bout you give me your cell phone number and I can call you later? I’d love to spend some time with you.” Mr. Chainman leaned toward her and wiggled his eyebrows.
The blonde took a step back. “Is that a dog collar you’re wearing around your neck?”
“So, if I were to go out with you, would I need to bring a leash?”
I turned back toward my dad to stifle a laugh. My dad raised his eyebrow at me, but I turned back toward the blonde and Mr. Chainman.
“Aw, I don’t think you’d have any need for that ’cause I’d be willing to follow you anywhere.”
I groaned, and my dad put a hand on my shoulder. I turned to look at him, and he spoke in a quiet voice, “Why don’t you go interrupt and talk to her?”
I widened my eyes. “Are you nuts! Mr. Chainman would probably wait for me in the parking lot! And what would I say anyway?”
My dad looked over at the girl of my dreams and Mr. Chainman, then looked back at me. “She doesn’t look interested in that guy. Actually, she looks uncomfortable. You could pretend to be an old schoolmate who hasn’t seen her for a while. I’ll bet she’d be happy to play along.”
I stood staring at my dad, contemplating.
He said, “Go,” and waved his fingers in a motion of dismissal.
I took a deep breath, wiped my sweaty palms on my pants, and moved toward the attractive blonde.
She noticed my approach, gave me the once-over with her eyes, then offered me a bright smile.
That gave me the courage I’d been lacking. “Hi, uh, Sarah. How’ve you been? It’s been a long time.”
“Yeah, it has. I’m doing well. How about you? You look great. I haven’t seen too many guys in Walmart in a suit coat.”
From the corner of my eye Mr. Chainman glared at me, and I turned to face him. “Oh, I’m sorry, man. Did I interrupt something? It’s just that I know Sarah from back in elementary school and wanted to say ‘hello’.”
Before he could say anything, the blonde touched my arm. “No, you didn’t interrupt anything. I’m glad you stopped to say ‘hello’. So, what have you been up to?”
Mr. Chainman huffed and walked away.
As soon as he was out the Walmart door, the girl of my dreams relaxed her shoulders. Her hand was still on my arm and her fingers were trembling. I put my other hand over hers. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Thank you so much for coming over. I really wasn’t interested in that guy, and I didn’t know how I was going to get away from him. I mean … he seemed nice, but a little too forward and pushy, you know?” She paused and studied my face. “By the way, my name really is Sarah, Sarah Johnson, but I don’t think I’ve ever met you before.”
“No, I don’t think you have. Sarah was just a lucky guess. My name’s Hunter, Hunter Mayfield. I just, uh, thought I’d help you out of an uncomfortable situation.”
She didn’t try to remove her hand from between my hand and my arm. “So, Hunter, are you from around here?”
“Yeah, are you?”
“Yes, I’m local. Listen, would you like to go out for pizza or something? I’d like to treat you for coming to my rescue.”
I looked over my shoulder and my Dad emphatically nodded his head. I grinned, then turned back to Sarah.
“That sounds great. Here, let me help you with your bags.”
She grabbed two bags in one hand, and I did the same, and as we walked toward the Walmart exit, she placed her free hand in mine.