Spearmint and Sadness

Jessie Dawson gripped the steering wheel, twisting her hands in opposite directions as she watched the headlights splash down the road before her. Her foot pressed down even more firmly on the gas pedal and she grimaced, remembering Dominick’s last words to her.

Don’t worry about it, babe.”

Garbage words from a garbage person. Gibberish dripping from a mouth full of lies in the moonlight. Her ring finger found a loose thread on the steering wheel cover, and she shifted her hands enough to pick at it with her forefinger.

Lights shone bright in the distance, and she released the accelerator to coast into the convenience store’s parking lot. Safe between the lines, she turned the ignition off and rested her head on her hands on the steering wheel. Her heart felt like the Mongols had used it for target practice.

Dominick. Just his name sent a chill down her spine. She thought he was a dream come true, the perfect man, the one. A small chuff of laughter slipped from between her lips as she thought about the day they met in a shoe store downtown, the shoe store where she worked. file000786678893.jpg

She was bringing a hand towel out front to clean up some syrupy mess one of the million and a half kids that ran around the store had made, and without paying attention to where she was going, she ran straight into Dominick. They both nearly fell down, but he caught himself, and then he caught her. She looked into his eyes and that was it right there. He was a necromancer casting a love spell on her.

She sprang away from him, an unspoken apology resting on her tongue, and her manager came around the corner.

“Jessie! You’re supposed to be cleaning up that mess by the front counter! I’m so sorry sir, what can I help you with?”

Jessie turned to Dominick helplessly, and she relaxed when she laid eyes on him again. He took charge immediately.

“I don’t believe you can help me with a thing, ma’am. Jessie has everything under control.” He raised an eyebrow at the manager, who turned without another word, and then wondered for the rest of the day why exactly had she done that.

“I’m Dominick. It’s nice to meet you.” His smile lit up the world. Jessie couldn’t help but smile back. She took a giddy step backward, and kicked a pair of cypress clogs beneath the towering shelves. Dominick reached out and took her hand, and she dropped the towel.

The two of them left the store, Jessie dropping her apron in the doorway on her way out.

She thought they were going to live happily ever after, but ever after only lasted seven months. Seven months of happiness, and now this. Jessie lifted her head from the steering wheel and looked around the parking lot. Two other cars, but no one in either.

She got out and went into the store and spent twenty minutes perusing the overpriced chips and beef jerky before selecting a single bottle of water and a pack of spearmint gum. Jessie took them back to her car, where she sat until the sun came up, reminiscing about the good old days with Dominick.

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