“You’re really pretty,” he said, as I stood there on an escalator back from the food court, with burrito-breath, wearing a polyester blend uniform and my hair stained with grey stripes from the overuse of dry hair shampoo and a laziness to blend it in properly.
I liked to think it made me look cool and edgy; a bit like Anna from Frozen when, in reality, it just made me look like I had Cruella de Vil’s coat on top of my head. I had done my makeup quickly whilst driving; with one hand on the steering wheel, and the other brushing foundation (probably) spotted with dog hair, crushed up toast crumbs and the 10368363737 different types of germs that come with losing the lid for your foundation and leaving the pot open in the cup holder of your car, onto my face.
Meanwhile, in contrast to my haphazard attempt of looking like a functional human that can be in a workplace, he was wearing all black and a denim jacket and with the effortless confidence that a nose ring adds to every guy, he looked like he could be in a Kanye music video.
“Uh, thank you,” I replied, looking up from my Facebook feed of all the people that seem to have their lives more together than I do.
In the 30-second conversation that followed, we managed to cover our respective names, our favourite books, and the fact that I’m 21 yet I look like I’m 17 (I’m guessing the fact that I had my hair in pigtails that day probably didn’t help).
I then went back to my work, and he went back to his work. Until 20 minutes later, when he came into my work and asked the question:
“Can I have your number?”
I wrote it on a green post-it note, and handed it to him, then walked away to serve a customer. Five minutes later, I trapped one of my coworkers in the back room, as I had a minor meltdown.
“This couldn’t be for real,” I told my coworker, who just really wanted to get away from me, “this has to be a joke, right? Right?”
My coworker didn’t reply.