He noticed her bright eyes the first time he saw her. There was no reason to look longer than a few seconds, so he did not. But he remembered the eyes later when he was trying to sleep.
“Are you leaving?” he asked her one evening, several months later. She was working in the back office, he had just finished mopping the floor. They both started in the kitchen, but these days she was helping the manager with the papers. She often stayed behind and closed up.
“Yeah, sure,” she said without looking up. But then, “No, wait. I have to finish this for tomorrow. Don’t wait for me.”
“Yeah,” he said, “I still gotta rearrange the walk-in for the delivery, so I’ll be a few more minutes.”
He hung around the walk-in longer than needed. Made room for stuff, then made sure older products were in the front, so you use them first. He got cold, so he went into the janitorial closet and rearranged the mops. He was fiddling with one of the mop sticks to buy more time.
Finally, she switched off the light in the office and was getting ready to lock up.
“Hey, you’re still here?” he said, emerging from the dark.
He walked her to her car.
“Are you sure I can’t give you a ride?” she said.
“No point,” he said. “I live just around the corner.”
She got in. He walked away slowly. As he turned the corner, he looked back. She was looking at him. They both smiled. He thought about her bright eyes later when he was trying to sleep.