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i went to class today. it was dumb. that's all i have to say about that.

ok storytime.

joe, the customer who liked christine, came into the store today. to understand the rest of this story, you need a little background on joe. i'm guessing he's around 40 or so, but i'm not real good with ages. mentally, he's not quite right. he's perfectly functional, and he can talk fine, but there's something not right about him. i don't know much about mental disabilities, but i know he's got one of some sort. he repeats himself a lot, and he goes to the grocery store every day becuase he thinks everybody there likes him, and he likes to feel like he's a part of something. in a way, i guess i understand that, wanting to feel liked, and trying to spend more time than you should in someplace, just so you can get that feeling. with him though, it's a little more extreme. he knows the names of every worker there, and he'll walk around the front end saying 'hi loser.' 'hi marie.' 'hi christine.' 'hi trent.' and if one of the people doesn't answer, he'll keep repeating: 'hi trent. hi trent. hi trent.' until finally, trent says hi. most of the people at the store are fine to him to his face, but almost everybody laughs at him behind his back. some people (especially amit and malik) will make fun of him to his face, thinking he won't notice. sometimes he doesn't notice, but other times you can tell by the hurt look on his face that he knows they're being mean to him, even if he's not quite sure why or how. anyway, he liked this girl who used to work in the office, kristen. she was about terrie's age. every time he came in, he would ask if she was working. kristen was great. she was always very nice to joe. she understood that he liked her, and she knew that she could make his day just by taking a few seconds and talking to him. she even told us that if she was upstairs or something, and joe was looking for her, we could call her on the intercom, and if she wasn't doing anything urgent, she'd come down and say hi to him. she left around christmas, and poor joe was heartbroken. she had been telling him all along that she was leaving soon, and to help him get through it, she was telling him that they would bring somebody new in to replace her, and maybe the new person would be even better than her. this kept joe's hopes up. the new person ended up being tasha, and joe didn't like her. instead, he switched his affections to christine. every time he came in the store, he would ask if christine was here. christine was always nice to joe, although (i hate to admit that christine's not the greatest) not nearly as nice as kristen had been. the other day, joe asked if christine was here, and marie, not wanting to tell him what christine had really done, made something up. it was kind of as a joke, just so everyone around could laugh at the fact that they were fooling this poor man, and kind of becuase it was easier than telling the truth. she told him 'no, she's gone. she went to work at giant eagle.' he said 'oh, ok, giant eagle. christine works at giant eagle.' now when he comes in, he still asks about christine, and then says 'she's at giant eagle, right? giant eagle.' people reluctantly agree with him, but feel bad tricking him. finally, he came in today, went through trent's line, asked about christine and giant eagle, and trent decided to tell him the truth. he told him actually, marie had just said that becuase she didn't want to admit the truth. and then he told joe exactly what had happened. joe was shocked. first, he wanted to know every detail. like, even worse than me. trent said the police took her away, and joe asked how many policemen. trent had no idea, but he said 'three.' then joe asked 'three. were they male or female?' by this time, amit had come over and things went downhill. joe doesn't like amit (probably since amit is always mean to him). once joe heard the story of why christine wasn't here any more, he wanted to know what was happening to her now. trent and amit didn't know. amit said 'ask loser! loser knows,' knowing full well that i had no idea. he just wanted to see this guy ask everyone in the store about christine so he could laugh at him. joe asked me and i told him i didn't know. he looked heartbroken, and trent felt bad. he said 'terrie might know becuase i think they were close,' and meant it. amit put in 'ask alyssa. i know alyssa knows.' (alyssa had no idea, and he knew it.) joe asks 'terrie lives with christine, right? she told me that one time. yeah, i know that's right. she told me that. terrie might know. terrie lives with christine, right?' trent and amit had no idea if this was the case or not. i told him i thought so. he went up to the service desk, and after about five minutes, he came back and asked alyssa 'what happened to christine?' alyssa said she didn't know and he should ask terrie. he said that he had asked terrie and terrie didn't know. i wonder if terrie thinks it's none of his buisness, just didn't feel like telling him, or meant that the case hadn't gone through yet. amit jumped in, laughing 'ask sarah. i'm sure sarah knows,' and you can see the light go on in joe's mind. he realizes that amit has been making this up, about who knows, and suddenly thinks that the whole thing is a trick. he says 'i don't believe it. it's not true. i know christine. she wouldn't do that. i know she wouldn't. i don't believe it.' he turns to me and says 'she didn't do it. she wouldn't do that.' amit said 'she really did.' i don't know what to say. i tell him slowly 'i didn't think she would do that either, but she really did...' he said 'no. i don't believe it. people say stuff. i don't believe it. twenty-one years ago, people said i liked men, but i didn't believe it. i like girls. they said i liked men. i didn't believe it. people say stuff but i don't believe it. i didn't see christine's name in the newspaper. i don't believe it. they said i liked men, but i didn't believe it.' at some point in this little speech, amit, trent, and alyssa started laughing and couldn't stop. trent and alyssa were trying to hide their laughter, but amit wasn't even bothering. either way, that left only me to answer him. he sees their laughter, looks hurt, and turns to me expectantly. i look him in the eye and say 'look, i wouldn't lie to you. i promise, she really did take money and get fired.' his face falls, and i know it's not because of christine. it's becuase he thinks i'm lying to him. he turned to me for the answer, i told him the truth, and he thinks i'm just as bad as amit. he doesn't trust me or anyone else. i think that's awful. people have been so mean to him, told him so many lies just so they could laugh at him, that he doesn't even trust people when they're telling him the truth. he says 'i don't believe it. it wasn't in the newspaper. i read the newspaper every day and i didn't see it. i know christine. i don't believe it.' trent has stopped laughing by now, and tells him 'that's a good idea, looking in the paper for it. i don't know if it's going to be in there or not, but you should definitely keep checking, becuase it really did happen.' joe says 'i don't believe it.' trent tells him it's true and joe says 'i don't want to hear it. i don't believe it.' trent says 'well, i understand if it's a sensitive subject,' and then he, alyssa, and amit crack up. joe shakes his head and shuffles away, still muttering over and over 'i don't want to hear it. i don't believe it. i don't want to hear it...' my heart goes out to him. why do i feel like i could be him? hurting so badly becuase christine is gone... unable to believe people... is jim telling me the truth, and by not believing it, i'm just being like joe? i want joe to believe me. i feel like a failure, for not being able to convince him of the truth. it's not so much that i think he needs to know the truth as it is that i just want him to trust me. right now, he left the store that he loves, the store that he comes to every day becuase he thinks the people here like him, the store that, to him, is the best part of his life, thinking that he can't trust a soul in the place. i want to make him understand that i know what it's like to be lied to, and i know what it's like to not be able to trust people, but that he really can trust me. i wonder if christine ever thinks about him, wonders how he's doing without her. i wonder if she ever thinks about me. i wouldn't blame her for thinking about nobody but herself, at this point in her life, but i'd sure like to think that she hasn't forgotten me...

later, i go on break. i'm in the break room for a few seconds when jim comes in. he asks if i'm mad at him or something, since i didn't invite him on break. i tell him of course i'm not mad at him. i never invite him on break, but i'm glad he's here. that seems to make him happy... he sits down and we talk about lots of different stuff. in fact, by the time i stop to think about the time, i've taken a 35 minute break. it was supposed to be 15 minutes. anyway, 35 minutes is enough time to cover a lot of topics, but there were a few that were more interesting than the rest, so let's touch on those...
first, i tell him 'i figured out that you were lying.' he asks 'about what,' and i tell him 'about terrie.' he gives me a confused look, and i know it means 'how can you have proof that i'm lying when i'm telling the truth?' either he's a good actor, or he really is telling the truth... but i forge ahead and say 'i was listening to her the other night, and she said some song was gay. real gay people don't say that.' and then i stopped to consider that i probably sounded like an expert on 'real gay people', which wasn't something i wanted, so i added '... do they?' and looked up at him. he shrugged and said 'i dunno, i guess they must...' he knew i was having trouble believing him, and he asked again 'why would i lie about something like that? what do i have to gain by telling you that terrie's a lesbian?' i'm not about to tell him what i think he has to gain. instead, i say 'well, you could make me believe it.' he said that wasn't a very good reason to tell a lie, just to make other people believe it, and he promised again that he wasn't lying. he said that terrie had thought for a while that she could like guys, and she had tried, but she just couldn't. he said he had known terrie for a long time. he said her and jane were really close friends way back before he even knew terrie. he got to be friends with jane before he even met terrie, but he had heard about her through jane.
then, i'm talking about poor joe, which gets us back to the subject of christine. i say i understand joe's reluctance to believe it, becuase i can still hardly believe it myself. jim says he thinks christine has two personalities. i ask what he means. he says 'one personality is a good girl and a hard worker, but then the other side is this wild child... she steals money...' i put in 'and smokes weed,' and he adds 'and has sex with that black girl.' holy shit, i wasn't expecting to hear that... i pick my jaw up off the floor, and calmly ask 'what?' he says 'she's bi...' i say 'i thought she just lived with that girl!' he says 'well, you know... she lives with her... she does... stuff... with her...' i ask if he's serious. he says 'she's bi! what did you think that meant?' i have no idea what to say. i finally come up with 'but she's so nice!' he asks 'can't you be bi and nice too?' i say 'well, sure, i guess if you want to...' he laughs and asks 'but if you want to, you could be bi and evil too, huh?' i laugh and say yeah. he tells me if he ever sees christine again, he's going to bring her to me, and i can ask her all these questions so i know he's telling the truth-'are you really bi? did you really take the money? so what exactly is your relationship with that black girl?'
then we end up discussing christine's niceness, and i give quite a tribute to her, explaining how she always answered all my questions. i tell him 'now i ask people like teena and she makes jokes, or michelle and she tells me it doesn't matter, or jane and she just answers as short as possible.' he laughs and says he can imagine jane answering as quickly as possible.
we make it back to the topic of terrie and i tell him i'm scared of her. he asks if i don't like her, and i tell him i like her just fine. in fact, i think she's funny. i'm just scared of her becuase i think she hates me, and then i tell him about the time she yelled at me to find teena. he asks what that was about last year, when i was all upset and asked him about terrie, and asks if i was mad at her or didn't like her. i tell him no, i was just scared of her and thought she hated me. in a way, this is the truth. i thought she knew the truth and hated me for it. it's just convienent to leave out the part about thinking she thought i was a lesbian.
i mention that the office is really short people, with jp, ray, and christine all having left in the past week or two. he says i should work back there. i tell him i don't know if jane would want me to, and he says he'll bring it up to her becuase he thinks i'd do a good job.

so after this extremely long break, there's a lot on my mind.
first, he's still saying terrie is a lesbian. i really really don't think a real gay person would call a song gay, but that's the only thing i have to prove she's straight, so it's really not enough. and if i just talked to jim about it, and didn't know terrie at all, i would believe him without a doubt.
second, jane is really good friends with terrie. i knew they got along, but i didn't know they had been friends outside of work before they worked together. this means they're pretty tight. and if terrie really is a lesbian, then jane must know it, if jim does... and they're still close... this would mean that jane would be fine with the idea. why can't i get this kind of evidence that my friends or family would be ok with it? it's not right when you consider coming out to your boss before you consider coming out to your friends!
third, christine 'has sex with that black girl.' this phrase, in and of itself, is sending my mind running wild. my vivid imagination is painting all these pictures in my mind and it's a little weird...
fourth, if i can get over the thought of christine in bed with a girl, i can look at the big picture. jim is still saying christine is bi. i can see how it could benefit him to convince me that terrie is a lesbian, but how in the world could it benefit him to make me think that christine was bi? i really can't see a way that it would. i will never see christine again. he will never see christine again. why would it matter to him (or to christine or terrie) what i think of christine? it really seems like the only reason he's telling me this is becuase it's the truth. and if he's really telling the truth about christine being bi, doesn't that make it more likely that he's also telling the truth about terrie being a lesbian?
fifth, will he tell terrie what i said about being scared of her? in a way, i hope he does. i don't really know why. this whole terrie situation is really confusing to me, becuase i'm not sure what's going on or what i want to be going on. i still think terrie suspects that i'm a lesbian. i haven't not thought that since sometime in may. but do i really want to come out to her? do i really want her to confront me? or am i just hoping that somehow, if terrie knows i'm a lesbian, i will wind up getting to see christine again?
and finally, the thought of me working in the office is messing with my head. last year, working in the office would have meant working with christine, being like christine... now what does it mean? it means a little more money, which would definitely be a good thing if i dropped out of school. it also means a lot more responsibility, and not just responsibility money-wise. i can handle that part, and the extra work, learning the new things, and handling customers' problems on my own, instead of sending them to someone else. what i'm afraid of is being in charge of other workers. there's not an office person there that doesn't occasionally send workers on breaks, send baggers out to get carts, tell cashiers which register to go to, or call the stock people up front to help bag when we're busy. i am scared of telling people what to do. i am not a leader, or not a serious one. sometimes people follow me, but never becuase i tell them to. they do it becuase i'm doing fun stuff... this would be different. i have trouble picturing me telling someone like beep which register to go to. i see her as being older than me and more important than me. i have a lot of respect for her and most of the other workers there, just because of their age. i would feel weird being half their age and telling them what to do. it'd be like me taking orders from a 10-year old. and even the younger people... i can't picture me telling marie what to do. when it comes to customers, i'm responsible and i do fine, but when it comes to the workers, they all treat me like a kid, and i feel like a kid. i don't know if i could do it. but i guess it's up to jane, and if she thinks i can do it, i'd be willing to give it a shot.

brandy, sandy, jessica, and her boyfriend come into the store. they talk to me, and it turns out that they got a hotel room. when brandy breaks this news to me, i think she's worried that i'll be insulted. she tells me it was sandy's idea (sandy is grocery shopping). i'm almost insulted. well, not really, but i could see how i could take that as an insult. but i didn't really want them to stay with me anyway. i would have been fine if they had stayed here, but i know i made it difficult for them, with my working every day, and i would be just as fine if they didn't stay here. if i really wanted them to stay with me, i would have called off work or made a bigger deal of it. sandy got my phone number from me, and said they'd call me after 11. either they called me right after 11 (when i wasn't home yet), or they're not calling, becuase it's almost 3:30 a.m. that's ok. i don't want to go party with them. i would like it if i could see them for an hour or so, but i still have the rest of the weekend. and if i don't get to see them, it's not the end of the world... it's not like holly is with them... (if she was, i would have called off work in the blink of an eye) before they left the store, they all stood over by the door and called 'bye loser!' really loudly, and waved to me. terrie looked up as i waved back at them and i felt good. terrie, look, i have friends!

after my second break, terrie told me i wasn't going to go back on register, which made me feel special. instead, i collected returns, got carts, and stocked some candy around the registers. at one point, somebody went to buy a cart of groceries, but their check wouldn't go through, so they left without the groceries. malik told me about it right away and asked me to put back the cold stuff, so i did that real fast. then i asked terrie if she wanted me to finish the returns or stock candy. she said 'oh, yeah, that's right, those groceries got left here. why don't you put back the perishables?' i told her i already did that. she was surprised and said 'already? wow!' then she said i could put back the rest if i didn't mind, and added 'thanks, sweetheart.' it was almost like christine. she was proud of me for doing a good thing, and then she called me sweetheart. except christine usually preferred 'sweetie.' yeah. ok, right.

later, i was out getting carts again, and when i would bring loads in, i could see jim talking to terrie. when he left for the night, he told me that he had told terrie about his plan to mention me to jane for an office position, and terrie told him that jane was already considering me. he quickly told me not to get my hopes up, becuase she was just thinking about her options now, but at least she knew that i was an option.

anyway, then i went home. tomorrow night, jane and terrie will be there together. i have 2 things i want to say when terrie can hear.
1-i want to ask jane if jim still likes me, to see if i can't get a 'why don't you like jim?' out of terrie.
2-i want to find out for sure what i have to do to get full time, and i want terrie to hear it, becuase i want there to be a chance that it'll get back to christine, because i'm stupid.
in conclusion, i'm stupid. the end.