It was Anne's idea to stop. We really had nothing better to do, so I pulled the car into the small gravel lot off Rt. 15 somewhere in podunk Virginia. Granny's Attic, read the sign. It was a little chintzy for my taste, but then, it matched the rest of the ramshackle shop that looked as if it had been a grocery/gas stop in another life.
Anne and I wandered in, browsing through the garage-sale clutter whose age promised treasure to the diligent seeker.
But the treasure was behind the counter, the girl in blue scribbling God-knew-what on a glorified legal pad. I approached with a question about something; she had a bit to say. Her youth was out of place here, but she fit somehow, a centerpiece in this crazy quilt of an antique shop, young and old at once.
This girl was different, innocent still, with a captivating sweetness that lingered, made me want more. She didn't see me, not really. She seemed unaware of my masculinity; her sincere demeanor was unaffected. I wasn't accustomed to that. Most girls... Well, most girls had their thing.
"Our two cats had 17 kittens between them; we're trying to find homes for them," she offered. Funny, how did we get onto cats? Fascinating simplicity... "You could come by our house tonight and pick them up."
Anne wanted a cat. Or two. I wanted to see this girl again.
He did come that night, with Anne. I don't know if she was his girlfriend, his sister, his friend. Anne took two kittens, and he took a short walk with me, asking questions, studying me.
I thought little of it then. I was eighteen. I made phone calls to colleges in my quiet hours at Granny's Attic, when I wasn't rearranging the old treasure-junk so that it could be found. I wrote stories, dreamed, planned my future. I had a beautiful crush on a college freshman at church whose Southern-accent bass made my head spin.
I graduated and went to college that fall, completely forgetting about the mystery stranger who had come for kittens until I heard from the owner of the antique shop that he had been back, asking about me. Two, three times. Brought a guy friend with him once. He had left me a note with his phone number. Told me to look him up if I was ever in Charlottesville.
I never did. Leaving the story unfinished suited me.
I wonder what he saw that made him want to come back. I pull the memory out every once in a while, just for the romance of it. It's one of those female things, I suspect, offering a bit of mystery, making a girl feel like she is more than she knows, lending a bit of beauty to her self-story.
He saw me; he came back to see again.
Lovely, isn't it?
Inspired this week by Joelle's sweet post, Noticed.
"Within the next month, what do you think about planning a night to spend with your sisters? ...We’re having our own Sister Parties! What about you? Want to giggle, eat, cry, whatever, and then maybe afterward join us for a little blog party?" - The Run Amuck: celebrating real-life friends
And seriously, you should check out another beautifully-detailed "Remembrancer" over at Stars in Her Fingernails(what I wouldn't GIVE to have this gal's writing ability!)!
(Image © Informal Moments Photography)