Each day is the same. Each day is worse than the last. When I get to work and stand at the counter looking out through the window I remember. I remember that yesterday was not as bad as the days before, and that it is because of the beautiful girl whose name I long to know. My eyes search the gas station and finally land on her, standing behind her own counter inside. Her long hair is pulled back from her face and I think about touching her slender neck.

As I stare out the window I become aware that Dan is speaking to me. In my love struck trance I cannot make sense of the words coming out of his mouth, yet I nod and grunt in reply. Satisfied by this, he leaves me to stare out the window and I begin absently sweeping the floor in front of it. I think about how this girl has become the meaning for my life. I think about how sad it is that I haven’t even met her and still she has become the sole subject of my every waking thought. I decide that I need to meet her.

Meeting this girl will not be the hard part. The hard part will be making something of it, I decide. It is nothing for me to walk into the gas station and buy a carton of cigarettes, although I am nervous simply to be breathing the same pocket of air that her precious lungs are. Throughout the day, as I sweep, bus tables, and take smoke break after smoke break, I go over the plan in my mind. After work I will walk across the street and ask to buy a carton of cigarettes. No, better not be cigarettes. Maybe she doesn’t like smokers. Better go with candy. Everybody likes candy, and this way I can offer her some as a way of starting up a conversation. If there are other people inside I will simply take my time picking something out, waiting for the perfect moment when it is just the two of us. I will pay for my candy, smile, and say something witty like, “I thought the candy would be the sweetest thing in the store.” As I picture myself doing this I want to run my own head through a wall. I sound like an idiot and I know there is nothing I can ever do to make her like me. Still, I know I can’t turn back. Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

Lindsay Moe
Wasted Life
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