Is that you Life? It's me Asha.
A story full of cliches.
I took a deep breath of fresh air knowing that as I got within the ten meter mark of my work I'd be assaulted by the smells of waning skunk, wet dog, dirty ocean water and the crisp ripe smell of our vanilla air freshener that although works just mixes with the already putrefying smells. Oh yes, I do love my job.
It's not the type of job I ever thought I'd be doing. Then again I've never really thought about my next move, my next love or even my next job. I'm more of a in the moment, or flying in space kind of girl. That's probably the problem right there, but I have no desire at the moment to change it. And so it goes.
Yup, there's the smell. Yummy. I try really hard not to roll me eyes at the sign hanging above our door. Victory Dog Grooming it reads in bold royal blue letters, there's a crown above the U. Don't ask my why; I wouldn't be able to give you an answer.
Yeah, so I don't actually groom the dogs I work the front which basically entails me to bring in and discharge dogs, which is all fine and dandy when there actually are people bringing in dogs but for three quarters of my shift I'm waiting; and making bows. Yes bows those things that you see wrapped around presents, or some poor child's head. These bows though are small and wrapped with elastic so they can slip onto a dogs collar. Maybe you've seen one of my creations. Despite me they do do a lot of dogs. I clocked myself one particularly boring day; I can do two hundred in an hour, which I think is pretty good but who knows I don't think they have a bow making Olympics.
Why the hell do I stick with the job, you ask. When you're already bored with it and you haven't even heard about my card filing and dusting abilities. I guess it's the money and the people. Oh god there goes my nose. No it's really I'm just too damn lazy to look for a new one. Besides I don't intend on staying much past February, I'm going to Ireland and Scotland, to see the castles and to drink Guiness from a McLean's pub, or a McCarthy's whichever I stumble upon first.
As I pull the door open and take the first sniff of dog'n'vanilla, I vow that this time I will stick to my plan.
So the shop is fairly quiet, the bosses who are also the owners of this fine establishment haven't arrived yet and its just Jess and Ashley sitting at their tables waiting for the first dogs to be dry, gabbing about some boy or other. I walk past silently to the staff room and peek into the lunch. I pull a disgusted face, it's still covered in dog hair. Well what did I expect we only had two weeks off.
"So Asha, how was your New Years?" Jess asks as I take a chair behind an empty grooming table waiting for my shift to start.
"You mean did I do anything mindblowing?" I ask.
"Yeah that's exactly what we meant." Ashley answered for Jess throwing me a smile. I wondered if she already knew. Though I'm fairly certain that's not possible.
"Don't know if you would call it mind blowing." I shrugged. "How 'bout you?" I expertly (so I hoped) took the questioning off me.
"No nothing." Jess answered, I felt her disappointment knowing that she had hoped her live in boyfriend of five years would finally propose.
I'm not good at comforting people. It's just not programmed into my brain. I try to do the whole sympathy thing but it just comes off as a cheap gimmick. I didn't even have to shift my weight awkwardly pretending to think of some comforting quotation because Ashley chimed in with her excellent people skills. "So Jess really needs to live vicariously through those who did, I already told her about my romantic escape with Noah." Geez I thought how fun for her.
"Like I said." I stalled hoping Jess would put a stop to this nonsense, but she only leaned forward in anticipation. I think my stalling tactics only heightened their curiosity. I can't say this New Years I was anywhere being me if that makes sense at all. I'm not a drinker, I mean if I go to a pub or party I might have one drink but it's just not something I need or really want. But this New Years I didn't want to be me for the night so I drank. A lot.
I sighed I hadn't worked here very long but I already knew if these two wanted to know something they wouldn't rest until they knew. "You won't believe me." I cautioned.
"Of course we will." Jess assured nodding her head vigorously.
"Okay, but I warned you."
"Yeah, yeah." Ashley crooned.
"My friend and I went over to her boyfriend's part at about four where I played strip poker with three greasy guys and one ripped dude. A lot of alcohol was consumed, mainly beer but also a lot of vodka. I swindled those three greasy guys out of all their clothes and their money. The ripped dude convinced me to take the money and buy a couple kegs of beer so we bussed up to the just closing liquor store and he went in with my five hundred cash, because I was barely standing up straight and came out with two kegs and five bottles of the cheapest vodka. We staggered or more I staggered back to the party where my friend chewed me out for not telling her I was leaving in which I shrugged much too intoxicated to care. Anyway I drank more and danced with her till I spotted ripped dude talking with a brunette who I surmised was plotting to take him down, who knows. So I butted in and pulled him on to the dance floor where we danced and talked. Well I think we talked I don't remember much about the rest of the night, until I woke up with ripped guys arm wrapped around my naked stomach in room I'd never seen before. So I quietly wiggled out of his grasp, I think it was quiet it was hard to tell with the pounding in my head. I navigated my way out of the two story house and found myself on Camlut Road three blocks away from the party. Despite the fact that I was standing outside of someone's house in the near freezing cold in just a cocktail dress and no memory of how I got there I was pleasantly satisfied. So yeah I had a mind blowing night and some great sex."
"Is that it?" Jess asked her mouth hanging slightly agape.
"Yeah." I shrugged. "Not my finest moment." But I'd take it. Despite the black out, though I did get enough back to remember the more satisfying moments, I had one fantastic non-real night and that perhaps is why I appreciated it more than I should have.
"Did you ever see the guy again?" Ashley asked a smirk playing on the edge of her lips.
"Uh, no," I shook my head. "Didn't even get his name." Definitely not sad about that part, if I never see him again that would be too soon. Even though I had a particular fondness for that night I have a feeling I would be mortified to meet the other end of it.
"You're right." Ashley laughed. "I don't believe you."
I chuckled and shrugged my shoulders, then grabbed my water bottle and went up to my work space, which consisted of a rickety old stool and a small white run-of-the-mill space heater because oh yeah my work space ain't heated. Nice huh?
On sunny days like today I like to get outside for my lunch break even if it is only just above freezing. So there I was eyes closed basking in the weak January sun at the small park a block away from work when a voice creeps straight out of the ether of noise and down to my toes to make my stomach flutter. I bolt up to see him across the street yelling at some guy walking into one of the apartment buildings. And he's just as ripped as I remembered. Even in blue jeans and a jacket you could see his taut biceps and his six pack and...oh god is that drool. The guy probably doesn't even remember that night, I hardly do and at least I knew I'd woken up with someone naked next to me.
I watch as ripped dude turns around fishing through his jacket pocket to produce ear buds. He bobs his head to an unknown song and begins walking across the street. My breath falters as I realize he's on course to pass straight through the park and mere feet from me. I guess this is why people don't like having one night stands or maybe this doesn't usually happen. So think think think what do you say to a New Years drunk one night stand? Well how 'bout nothing? Cause ripped dude walked straight past me without even a look. I'm not quite sure if I feel relieved or upset. Oh well I sigh standing up and making my way back to the dog pound, maybe it's for the best.
The door chimed just mere seconds after I had flopped into the overly stuffed pillow atop the rickty stool; my office chair. Taking a breath I put on my happy how can I help you smile and lifted my head only to meet the eyes of ripped dude. I waited for the warmth of embarrassment to creep up my neck and belie the calm appearance I was trying to put on, but it never happened instead I'm fairly certain I went as white as a ghost, which would have been a great relief had I not been staring at him like the mortified idiot that I was.
"I didn't know you worked here." He spoke. Which out of every question I had mulled over since the last time I had seen him was nowhere near the list. Though I guess it wasn't really a question.
I nodded, and then did the unthinkable I covered my mouth and ran. I ran past Jess and Ashley and the bosses to the bathroom where I hurled my entire lunch into the toilet bowl. Having emptied my entire bologna sandwich into the cold ceramic toilet I moved to the sink and ran the cold water. Careful not to look in the mirror I splashed cold water over my face letting it drip, drip off my nose back to its beginning. I then dared a look and groaned as yes it was me who stared out of the mirror. The door chimed; it opened and closed again. Another moment and Ashley appeared.
"You okay?" She asked. I didn't answer. What was I supposed to say? Oh yeah you know that story from before well it just showed up in all its handsome glory and I ralphed all over the toilet. "Do you need to leave early?" She went on. And risk running into the guy again. "Wait." Ashley paused seeming to mull some facts over in her head. "That was the guy, wasn't it!" Her voice did the little high pitched thing at the end as she rose in excitement.
I looked at her out of the side of my eyes. It was all she needed to confirm her suspicion and she let out a deep sinister laugh. So maybe it wasn't sinister but it may as well have been.