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I have gone to Publix again on my quest to initiate conversation with Herc.
It did not work.
I only had 10 items in my cart but our soft spoken, tattooed man-tower wasn’t working in the 10 Items or Fewer line so I had to waste precious time searching the store for something else I needed. I didn’t want it to be obvious I went to him just because I think he’s pretty when the other line I SHOULD have been in was clearly shorter. I remembered “Ah, yes, a soft bristle toothbrush because my gums are even more sensitive than I am.” So I went to that isle, but that’s when I bumped into a guy who works at Panda Express on campus. I didn’t know how to leave so we just talked for a while and he said I looked good on account of not having braces anymore, thank the dental symmetry gods.
Points for me.
My confidence was boosted.
I looked so fabulous that someone I barely knew felt compelled to tell me so in the oral hygiene isle.
I took this as a sign. So with my carefully selected 11 items (so I had one more item than was permissible in the 10 Items or Fewer line), I walked over to the register right next to it where Zeus’s son was working. And just as I got there, I realized he was gone.
I panicked. I quickly made a U-turn without being seen. Maybe he was on a break. Maybe he really needed to take a trip to the whiz palace. Do boys need to pee often? Do half-gods? I didn’t know. I went into the cereal isle for no reason. I picked up some boxes and pretended to look at my options while still panicking.
Then I saw him way at the other end of the aisle walking around with his apron over his shoulders.
That meant he was leaving for the night. That meant my chance was slipping away from me and I was watching it happen. I almost threw the box of cereal across the store. No.
I did not shower and spend 20 minutes in front of my mirror for this. I did not force myself to put pants on instead of going to sleep for this. I, Scarlett, do not embark on moderately brave endeavors after being awake for almost 30 consecutive hours just to let them end in failure.
I saw him headed for produce and so I went there too. But right as I got there, the red haired guy who works there started talking to me. I was thinking yes I am fine, sir, I know where the lemons are I just need lemons they are 3 for a $1 and Hercules is standing near them so please stop making words with your mouth I NEED LEMONS. But he continued to talk anyway as I watched Herc walk away from the corner of my eye.
“Cockblocker” I thought, feeling constipated. He let him escape. But there was still a chance. I just wanted to talk to him.
I went to the checkout line where (miraculously) he happened to get in the line next to mine. My designated cashier and bag-person were feeling conversational because they were the kind of tired that makes people talk a mile a minute. And I felt that. I really did. They asked me how I was and I said tired because it was true. I’d been up since 5am the day before and I was really feeling it by then because something about watching opportunity pass you by multiple times really wears a person out.
They were impressed. This made them talk more. They were like “wow you do not look like you’ve been awake that long, you look great.”
And I knew. I had my hair done up in Daenerys Targaryen twists which I then threw into a french braid, somehow still managing to look incredibly casual. I knew this because I had triple checked in the mirror before I got out of the car.
Across from me, Herc was wrapped up in conversation with his cashier and so unlike his coworkers, he didn’t notice the grandeur that was my hair, or my butt in leggings. As he left so did the rest of my hope. I ended up going home phone-numberless but I made myself some quesadillas which were fantastic because I’m very good at making those.
So no, I still haven’t talked to him, but in the words of the great Commander Peter Quincy Taggert from Galaxy Quest, “Never give up. Never surrender.”