To the girl at the supermarket

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I said hello and smiled through you

And you eagerly smiled back before

Mine melted away

Into your molten scarred unrecognizable face

An innocent smile instantly replaced with sadness since

I could not hide my horror, then my shame

I peered up and down aisle after aisle

Slowly filling my cart while searching and

Wondering—how could I?

And if and how could I correct my transgression?

Should I apologize or simply start over and try again?

Offer up a joke or a note about the weather?

I wanted…

I needed another chance to prove I’m not that person

To you

To me

To the guy cleaning up in aisle three

But neither of us knows me evidently

Or even well enough to know I’d react that way

Or that I’d care this much about a complete stranger

Or that I’d obsess over you and then somehow forget you

Before suddenly spotting you again

In the last aisle

My last chance

But face to face I froze again before making amends

I was immersed in fear again

I smiled that same stupid smile again

This time sincerely hoping it might hide

My insincerity, my regret and my fear

But it didn’t.

I wanted to tell you I didn’t mean to hurt you

But my pathetic face failed us both

And you let me know I missed my chance to make it up

To you—oh who am I kidding?

To me!

This time, you didn’t smile back

This time, you looked through me

And I deserved it

I had my chance to be a better me

And I blew it

I’m so sorry.

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