The Dancing Girl

I saw a regular one day at the mall. It’s so strange when we run into each other in the daylight.

They always get a “deer in caught the headlight look”, as if I am going to point and scream or something. So I did my usual downwards glance to avoid eye contact and continued digging through racks of work shirts for my husband. I willed him to walk away with my mind. “Walk away, walk away”, I prayed. I glanced up. Jesus! It worked, well mostly it worked because when I looked up he was gone, but his young girlfriend was not. She was pretty and looked much younger under these fluorescent lights than she had in the dim light of the bar. She licked her lips and continued to stare.

I remembered the last time we met at the tip jar. She had handed me a crumpled five dollar bill, her eyes following me around the stage. I felt so much more naked this time, with my son in my cart in Sponge Bob pajamas. I suddenly wished I thought of applying lipstick before I left the house, I brushed my hair quickly with my fingers as I felt my poise slipping away. I glanced down at the racks pretending to shop. Then when I looked up again, thankfully, I was alone.

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