Music blared over the loud speaker of Ruckus Apparel. It was something meshed in between Metal and Emo-rap-a dreadful combination. Iris grabbed another shirt from the pile and began to fold it into a perfect square, focusing her mind on the task, pushing the loud music into the back of her mind as nothing more than white noise.
The door sensor beeped. Several customers huddled into the store, only garnering a little of her attention before she went back to her mundane task. She didn’t know what was worse, the loud music, the suffocating perfume and cologne samples, her snotty and over indulged cohorts who never really saw her, or the fact that she worked for a clothing store tending to clothing she couldn’t even afford.
It was all very cruel. In the end, she figured that the later was the worse. She hated having things she wanted dangled in her face but just slightly out of reach. What was more important? Paying for her next semester or looking cute in the meantime?
Dang it all! Why couldn’t she have both?! Other people did? But no. She was just another fish in the sea of someone else’s corporate gain.
She was the invisible hands and labor, the invisible student, just barely passing, the invisible clerk who no one saw or asked for help.
She was just…invisible.
* * *
Trevor stared at himself in the reflection of the glass display counter. He had stopped by the florist and picked up a bouquet of flowers earlier that day. When he paid for them the lady who rang him out seemed to beam as if the flowers were for her. Unable to help himself, he pulled a flower from the bunch and handed it to her. Her smile widened. “You are going to make some lucky ladies day!” She said.
Trevor smiled recalling her words. His smile waned as he looked at the bouquet, now half empty from all the flowers he had given to other women he saw on his way to the mall. It wasn’t that he was too much of a flirt. Truth was he had no desire in dating women twice his age, but he had always been taught to treat the ladies with kindness and so he did.
What woman didn’t like flowers?
But as soon as he had gotten close to Ruckus Apparel he suddenly felt his token slightly inadequate. Flowers were lovely but they did last and he wanted to make an impression. That is why he was now standing at the jewelry counter, praying to God he wasn’t over doing it. After all, she didn’t even know him. She hardly paid him any notice whenever he went in. And as pathetic as it was he only shopped there as often as he did just to see her.
It had taken him months to build up the nerve to even say hello and now he was doing it with a gift that may make her run for the hills.
The clerk slid the treasure into a box and took Trevor’s card before he could change his mind. Eyes wide, he took the box and the flowers down the hallway, heart bounding in his throat, towards Ruckus Apparel.
It was now or never.
* * *
Iris’ head popped up from her near finished clothing pile. That guy, the one who seemed to come in every week stepped in. His eyes met hers and then quickly looked away in the direction of the mass of noisy girls who had come in only about 15 minutes earlier. One of them had to have been his girlfriend. He couldn’t possibly need another pair of jeans.
She felt her shoulders slouch as her eyes looked towards the guy again. She didn’t know his name she didn’t know anything about him at all. He was good looking though. Tall, solid shoulders, chestnut hair and eyes to match. He smelled amazing too, which was saying something being that the store reeked of fragrances.
The gaggle of girls began to sigh and giggle even more with their, “Oh, Trevor you are so sweet!” responses.
Trevor, Iris thought. He looked like a Trevor handing each of the girls a stem of the bouquet he had carried in the store with him.
Irises, they were irises! Iris felt her heart clench. Every girl in the store had gotten an iris, even her coworkers. She didn’t know why, but noting that there wasn’t a single flower in his hand, not even a leaf left for her, the girl named Iris, made her eyes sting.
Yep, definitely invisible. Pushing her loose hair from her face and straightening her back, she reached for another shirt and started to fold, again pushing everything into the back ground even Trevor, this guy who had somehow broken her heart and she didn’t even no the man!
She smelled him long before she heard him clear his throat. Her mouth turned to cotton. What could he possibly want? “Can I help you?” She said in a voice, strangely and irritatingly shaky. She didn’t look up at him, not until his nicely shaped, and well kept hand, slid the tiny, purple jeweled figurine into her line of sight. “An iris, for Iris.” Trevor said, somehow it sounded more like a question.
Iris startled, eyes wide she looked at it and then up at him. His eyes were bright, and wide, and full of uncertainty. Why was he nervous and why was he giving her such a treasure?
His smile broadened, their uncertain souls seeming to meet somewhere in the warmth between their locked gazes. “I am Trevor by the way. I have been wanting to say hello for a really long time.” His neck and face brightened with red. “I, uh,” He cupped the back of his neck. “I wanted to know if you would like to, I don’t know, if…” His words seemed to tangle.
Iris slipped the figuring from his hand and smiled just as broadly. “I am glad that you did say hello.” She said saving him the embarrassment that was painting his very handsome face. “I am Iris.” She extended her hand for him to shake.
He chuckled, holding on to her hand gently rather than shaking it. He also seemed to relax. “I know.”