Jobs come and go. That’s part of the beauty of living in America – you can change jobs freely if you aren’t happy. It’s a luxury not everyone in the world has.
For years and years, my life was consumed by business – retail, specifically. It wasn’t my plan…I sort of fell into it. My part-time cashier job turned into a full-time management job and, as anyone who’s worked in retail knows, once you get to that point it’s hard to get out. I wasted about five years at Target until my career path unexpected changed for the better.
It was a chance encounter – fateful, even. She came into the store to return a set of lingerie but our guest services team member wasn’t letting it happen. It was a no-receipt return, and she didn’t have the method of payment or her I.D. with her. Typical scam set-up. As those usually go, she asked to speak with a manager. I have no doubts she caught me mouthing “damn” as I walked up to the front end to speak with her. She was a tan goddess, about 5’3″ with a perfect, Playboy-esque body, brunette hair, and a lip ring. She looked like the type of girl who could post a single cleavage shot on Instagram and become an overnight internet celebrity.
On the surface, she looked like the type that might use her looks to be able to swoon guys into mindlessly doing what she wanted. A little flirting, a slight lean over the counter, and anything she needed was done – regardless of policy.
Well, maybe not just on the surface. I did exactly that.
I couldn’t resist her allure.
I thought about her non-stop for a few days after that. She was visually perfect in every sense of the word. Her body inspired me. I wanted to capture elegance like hers to look at anytime I desired.
Transitioning into a photographer seemed natural after meeting her. It was as if she rewired my brain, causing me to notice the beauty in everything I saw. Every second I wasn’t at work, I was adventuring and capturing the sights of the world surrounding me. Some days I even had to call off because I had let my passions take me too far away to be able to drive back for my shift.
Only a couple of months had passed until I ran into my muse at the local Starbucks. She was in front of me, ordering a grande white chocolate mocha – no whipped cream. A delicious drink for a delicious woman, of course. After I ordered the same drink as a venti, I nervously walked down to the end of the counter to wait for my drink…and silently observe her magnificence.
“Hey! Aren’t you the guy from Target that helped me return those undies?!” She spoke to me. I almost died.
“Oh, ha. Yeah, I believe that was me.” I always hated my ugly, nervous laugh.
“You were so awesome!” She said as she gave me a tight hug. “I was able to get a new set because of you, see?”
She pulled down her deep-cut v-neck, revealing to me a lacy, purple bra that hardly covered her voluptuous, tan breasts.
“I’m Jess, by the way. I’ve gotta run but I’m sure I’ll see ya around!”
She wasn’t wrong. We seemed to bump into each other almost daily after that moment at the coffee shop. If it wasn’t a face-to-face encounter, when I would go home and upload my photos she would be in them to some degree. Every. Day. I didn’t mind – she made my photos come to life, enhancing the already spectacular scenes with her own stunning looks.
I’m not sure if she knew I was taking her picture or not. Some days she would appear oblivious, and the photos would come across voyeuristic. Maybe she would be turned away, eating an ice cream cone. Tying her Vans. Fixing up her hair. Just casual things. Other times, she seemed to be staring right at me as I clicked the button. A few times she was putting on a blouse. Another was she putting gas in her white Beetle. Once, she was nude in the forest. Always facing directly towards me. Always staring into my soul.
As guilty as it made me feel, she never took legal action, nor made it seem like she wanted me to stop. To be honest, shewas the one showing up in all of my pictures. She wouldn’t really have had the basis to take up recourse. The longer it went on without any signs of discontent, the less guilty I began to feel. In my mind, it became a game. Two lovers, flirting without ever needing to meet. I was sure we were both in on it, but one of us had to win eventually.
I was out late last night, trying to catch photos of the super moon over train tracks – a truly stunning scene. Pines lined both sides of the tracks, the rock hills were even and undisturbed, and the sky was clear aside from the massive, massive moon. I’ll admit, I went a little crazy with the picture taking and filled up the remaining space on my SD card trying to capture the perfect scene.
She was in the photos.
There was no way Jess was able to have been there. The area was completely void of life while I was capturing it!
She was in the middle of the tracks, entwined with a man.
They began kissing.
He touched her skin, and she wrapped her hands around the back of his head.
He was looking directly at me. His body hadn’t moved.
Jess held his head in her hands, his body was on the ground.
She faced me directly, with that soul-stealing glare.
Dozens of small, white creatures piled over the man’s body. Jess had disappeared.
The creatures and the body were gone.
Jess was sitting indian-style mere feet away from the camera.
I screamed and ran into the bathroom, barely making it to the toilet. I couldn’t believe it. There was nobody on the tracks. How could she be in every single picture?! In hopes that I was losing my mind, I drowned myself in cold water from the sink and went to try looking at my gallery again.
The pictures were empty.
My mind and body decided that I couldn’t take this anymore and I had to sleep. I woke up in my chair about an hour ago. The pictures were still void of Jess, the man, and those weird fucking creatures…but she was outside of my window, sitting on my lawn staring directly into my eyes as I looked outside.
I’ve never seen her outside of a photograph since the coffee shop.
CREDIT: Mikey Knutson
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