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she didn't come. other stuff happened today, but that's all that's on my mind now. she didn't come, at all. when she didn't come during my break, i just figured she must be coming later, doing that late-night, avoiding ann thing again. i was supposed to be on a regular register, but i switched with jeff so i could do self-check, and be closer to the door for her... and so i could get carts for a little... and she didn't come. not while i was on self-check, and not while i was getting carts, and when my shift was over, i sat outside in my corner and she still didn't come. at all. did i ever really believe that she was coming? am i really surprised that she didn't come? i know that i said i believed she was coming, but i don't think i really believed it. i pretended to believe it. i tried to convince myself that i believed it, becuase i wanted it to be true. i knew it was crazy. but i wanted to believ it anyway, because i didn't want to feel like this, empty and alone and confused and lost and abandoned... i don't want to feel like this. i don't know what to do. i have no phone number... no plan... no christine... no nothing. no god. just me, and i am nothing. i am stupid. i am dumb. all i can do for me is keep me just like i've always been, and i'm tired of it. i want to be the truth. it's not right. nothing is... how could she be gone? how could she not care? i went back again and re-read those few weeks, after she quit, and how she cared about me... the worst was the 25th:

christine came in. her first stop was over at self-check, where i was. she asked if i was doing better. i said 'yeah... i think jim hates me though...' she told me he didn't, and i said he ignores me. she asks if that's why i think he hates me and i said yeah. she said he just doesn't know how to react and it's kind of awkward for him, but he doesn't hate me. she said i should talk to him. i told her that's scary, and she said 'yeah, but at least think about it, ok?' i said ok. she asked if i still had her number, and i said yeah. she told me again to call if i needed anything. i thanked her, and then she went off, but before she left for good, she stopped back again. she asked quietly 'so has anybody else said anything about it to you?' i told her no, and she smiled and said gently, 'see, i told you it would be ok.' i loved her. right then, i loved her. she doesn't have to do this. she doesn't have to check up on me. she could ignore me like jim, or pretend it hadn't happened, or she could have just not stopped over here, and i might not have even noticed that she was in the store. i'm not her responsibility. she doesn't have to make sure i'm ok. but she does, and i'm glad. i am so glad she exists. i'm glad she's the one who found out. i'm glad she was outside when i was going crazy. what if it had been just jim? what if i was still sitting here thinking jim knows, going crazy and beating myself up? i'm glad she cared enough to make me go for a walk with her. i'm glad she's still asking me if i'm ok. i'm glad she keeps telling me i can call if i need to, becuase the more she says it, the more i believe she really means it. even if i won't ever call, it's the thought that i could, and she would be there. christine is my favorite person in the entire world. i'm so overwhelmed with that rush of emotion that my reply comes out in that 7-year-old voice, incomplete words with some strange accent: 'they doah noah?' (which sounds a lot more like 'they don't know?' than it looks) she smiles and answers 'well, i'm sure they have their speculations, but they can't know if you don't tell them.' i want to give her a hug. i want to make her understand how much i appreciate this... all this... her being here... her being herself... her being supportive and caring and even if it's all some kind of huge act and deep down she hates me, i don't care, becuase i'm falling for it and i think she's the most wonderful person in the world. instead, i give her a timid smile (and i think this is the first time i've smiled since the 19th) back and say yeah. yeah, they don't know. yeah, she's right. yeah, it might be ok. then she says she's got to go, and she leaves, and that half smile is still on my face. christine is the greatest.

what's so different? how could she have completely quit caring in less than 5 months? how could she go from that to distant and cold, so quickly? why couldn't she have cared for just a little bit longer? why can't she come in one more time? she won't; i'm nearly sure she won't. she used to come in once in a while, for no reason, just to check up on things. but then she stopped, and for 2 months, she didn't come at all. when she came back, it was for a reason. i assume she's solved her tax problems by now... it's been nearly 3 months since she's come for no reason. she doesn't have to any more. i know it happens... people move on. i used to want to go home all the time, when i came to school, to visit my family, and my work... my family is still my family, but now that i don't work there any more, i don't stop back any more. it's because i've moved on. i missed them at first, and visited them while i transitioned into other things, but that's it. i'm done. i haven't been there in over a year.
that's not what i want to think... i need her to come back... once more... god, just once more, and i could finish on my own. if she could just talk to me once more, i could do this... tell molly... tell my family... move on... just one more conversation...