In October of 2013, Susan began working at London Drugs, a Canadian drugstore, as a member of their Early Morning Stock team. She had many apprehensions about working in retail which stemmed primarily from pride. Susan was an educated woman. She had gifts. She was a writer. She was an actress. She hadn’t worked in years but that doesn’t matter. She lived in Los Angeles. It was only three months but that doesn’t matter either. She lived there. Susan knew things. Susan was important. Susan was smart and Susan needed a job.
Susan wasn’t particularly good at her job. She was slow and day-dreamy. She liked to look at herself in the mirror located in aisle 10, smell the shampoo in aisle 12, and dance/sing/hum to every song that played over the intercom. She was forgetful, confused and maybe a little bossy. In spite of all this, her managers kept her around and she was grateful they did. Working there turned out to be a saving grace and something she grew to love. Make no mistake, Susan was still proud and arrogant but she grew very fond of London Drugs, their company and those precious early mornings. She even liked her coworkers and some times, they liked her, too.
London Drugs has a “Sweep Schedule” where one lucky employee gets to walk the store and sweep in between the aisles. It happens about 4 times a day. When Susan was hired, sweeping was considered a chore by most employees. Susan liked it because she could go for a walk and daydream. It also gave her an excuse to walk past her crush in the Tech Department at Store #86. We’ll call him Vinyl.
Vinyl was (and still is) an articulate, well-read, photographer who was always up-to-date on all the latest tech toys. He spent a large chunk of his time listening to music, playing video games, and driving his sports car. Every Monday night, he and some of the boys from work would go on their Wings Night where they would talk about whatever it is boys talk about. Probably something interesting as he was a gifted conversationalist. This skill proved to be incredibly useful at the beginning of his and Susan’s early crush-tionship; she was often tongue-tied and barely able to construct an audible sentence. This is partly due to the shock that another man was speaking to her (she doesn’t get out much). But more than anything it was because she was fluent in a language known only to her. It’s called, “Stalker,” a primarily silent language spoken with blank stares, blushes, nervous giggles and Google searches.
Anyway, Susan worked hard to time her store sweeps so she would conveniently walk past Vinyl as he was prepping for the day. If she started too soon, he wouldn’t be there. If she started too late, he’d be busy with a customer. So she really had to think this through. Often times, he’d play music which called to her like some siren song. They’d talk about dubstep or odd things customers do and Susan would ask his advice on all things tech-related. Once her shift was done, she’d say goodbye and go home for a nice long nap.
On the day Vinyl exchanged numbers with Susan, she had finished her shift and was sitting in her car waiting for the engine to warm up. Vinyl was walking towards her, hands full of iced coffee from MacDonald’s. She was so excited to see him that she accidentally turned on the windshield wipers instead of waving like a normal person. He stood outside her car door and asked her to roll down the window. Of course, the weather was so cold her window had frozen shut.
Opening her door a crack, “My windows are frozen shut.”
“Oh. Okay,” he said, “How’s your day?”
“Good but it’ll be better after you text me.”
Susan squeaked with delight but tried to conceal it. She grabbed her phone with hungry desperation, whispering cuss words till she found her phone. Somehow her phone magically appeared and the two of them exchanged numbers. Over the next couple of weeks, they texted back and forth.
The night they went on their first date, Vinyl picked her up in his fancy blue sports car and the two of them drove around the city. He played all kinds of music and talked to her about this and that. They eventually stopped at the Slow Pub along Albert Street. Each ordered their respective drinks. Susan ordered dark rum and Vinyl ordered white. Vinyl told her what it was like growing up in the Caribbean and how he and his Dad bonded over the show, Top Gear. All the while, the waitress would drop off their orders and sigh over this budding romance.
When the evening was all said and done, Vinyl drove her home. Parked outside the front door, there was a pause of quiet. Both knew what came next as they had been discussing the logistics of making out for weeks. It was finally time and Susan was absolutely ecstatic.
She always wondered how people kiss with their eyes closed. What if you miss their lips? Susan worried about these things but she closed her eyes nonetheless and hoped it would work out. It did. He found her lips somehow and Susan knew immediately that she liked kissing. Susan looked down and smiled. Vinyl kissed her forehead.
They said goodnight and as soon as she closed her front door, Susan jumped up and down like Laura Linney in the movie, “Love Actually.” She danced up the stairs and laid on the floor which was heated and warm. She stayed there for a long moment, smiling in a drunken stupor. Her roommate wasn’t there at the time so Susan was free to be more ridiculous than usual. She rolled off the floor, brushed her teeth and washed her face. She crawled into bed and fell soundly asleep.
This is the account of Susan’s second- first kiss. Her first-first kiss is a longer story and it left Susan confused and discombobulated. She wanted a do-over. Susan was 27 years old when she received her second-first kiss.
It was International Women’s Day.