A middle-aged man with bronzed tan and gray-blue eyes came into the bookstore one day just to hear the song I was playing by a local band. He stayed long enough to make a purchase.
“Are you in the frequent buyer club?” I ask as I do of everyone who stops by the register.
He hesitates, his eyes darting across my face for some signal of what to say. It’s not the confused look of someone who hasn’t heard what I’ve said– I know that well enough from my own struggles to hear. There’s something else preventing him from speaking.
“I’m going to be safe and say no,” he finally replies with a nervous laugh.
“It’s not a trick question,” I say. “It’s a yes or no answer.” I begin explaining what the club is– a way of earning an in-store certificate for frequent buying.
“Oh,” he says disappointed. “I thought you might be flirting with me,” then softer, “they never are.”
I giggle and before I know what I’m saying I add, “I should start using that as a pick up line.” I blush a deep shade of crimson as I fumble to put his purchase into a bag. Several more awkward, jittery seconds pass before he finds his way back outside the store and I, no longer restrained out of politeness, let loose the giggles that had been threatening to burst forth before.