At Home 22


"Excuse me, miss, but may I ask what are you doing?" a gruff voice said loudly. She opened her tightly shut eyelids and saw that the voice belonged to one of the older employees. He was staring directly at her, his arms crossed stubbornly.

"Oh, nothing," she stuttered, rising from her crouched position behind the counter. She had easily ducked behind the customer service station not long before, and had been trying to remain invisible ever since.

"This area is for Best Buy employees only," he said, one of his graying eyebrows slightly raised. "I'm afraid you'll have to leave."

"Okay, sorry," she mumbled, walking back around the long white counter. She was afraid of what to do next. Hopefully in the ten minutes she had been hiding, her father had left. She glanced left and right, before closing her eyes again and praying he had gone. Unfortunately for her, she felt a tap on her shoulder, making her jump. She opened her eyes, but was reluctant to turn and face him.

"Are you sure you're okay ma'am?" she head that familiar voice say. She looked behind her to see the same old man who had rid her of her sanctuary standing near her. She let out the breath she had been holding. He seemed truly concerned, and she pitied his misunderstanding.

"Well, actually, I'm trying to avoid someone," she said, regretting it the second the words had left her mouth. She had promised herself she wouldn't bother anyone else with her problems, but here she was, pouring out the issue to a complete stranger. She felt a bit lighter afterward, oddly enough, and waited for his reaction. He merely stood and stared into her eyes, apparently at a loss for words.

"I'll just go now," she whispered, her head hung in defeat.

"Well, if you'd like, you could resume your spot behind the counter," he said, as her head snapped back up. She was baffled by his response, amazed he'd given a damn about her difficulties.

"Really?" she said, relieved. She didn't think it too smart to be standing here in the open while he could have been anywhere nearby. "Thanks, mister."

"No problem," he said, leading her back to the one haven she seemed to have in the world. It was ironic that something as simple as a customer service desk and a courteous old man could bring her such contentment and safety in such a foreign place.

He stood beside her, waving his hand to indicate her reserved spot on the floor, up against the tiled wall below the counter. She resumed her position, crouching, her knees against her chest as she looked back up into the man's eyes. He smiled down at her. It was a kind, innocent smile. A smile only a giving old Best Buy employee could give.

He was her savior, and, as she sat in silence, she realized she was going to be all right.