The sun is streaming thru the high ceiling windows, making a valiant effort to lighten the dark, dismal sky. Rain is falling in careless straight lines, like a trillion tiny, lazy torpedo's.
"No one will be shopping today" I think out loud, addressing the racks of winter coats and scarves. A woman with a bright red umbrella, dark red coat, and faded red trousers scuttles down the sidewalk, not even glancing in the window.
Not that it's different than any other day at work.
I have a new job. It's at a private clothing boutique named after a flower. My hours are piddly (yes I said piddly, it's a word), and the only time we're 'busy' is after 3 when all the teeny boppers are released from school and flood the downtown area. They bop in, carrying on chat-fests with each other and their cellphones simultaneously. My greeting fazes them, and they pause, trying to remember what the fitting response is to "Hi! How are you?" Generally a confused nod and tentative wave is what they come up with, and then I am invisible - until the urgent question inevitably arises "Do your jeans go down to a size O?"
In the mornings an occasional cluster of middle aged ladies meander in, relieved to be out of the house and 'out on the town'. They thrill over our inexpensive earrings, scarves, and "are your sweaters really that cheap?!" Happily scolding themselves ("I really shouldn't be shopping - but look how cute!") they ask me questions, ask for assistance, ask for my opinion ("Can you tell I have a tummy?"). This is when I feel like I actually have a job. I step into my salesgirl persona, even my voice changes (I don't know why, and I can't help it - I have a 'salesgirl' voice) and I become efficient, reassuring, flattering without gushing, and innocently charming. I become every woman's daughter and best friend. I've learned how to tilt my head just so and smile out from under my fringe of dark bangs, eyes wide and convincing (you know you deserve this!). They think I'm adorable and buy all kinds of stuff.
But most of the time business is very slow. I tidy the mountains of camisoles, button all the coats, organize the jeans. The store is spotless within a half hour of clocking on, and then...I wait. And watch the rain battle with the sun for dominance over the sky.