The first time I saw the girl, my heart stopped. I was transported with a quickness to a world exploding with sparkling red lights. My head felt as if it was going to burst at any minute. There was no air, and my feet were floating on nothing. It was hard to see through the swirling sparks and thick dark atmosphere. My heart was on fire.
The girl appeared at my side while I was browsing the book shelves. She did’t seem to notice this strange and alien world we were in. “Can I help you find something?” Stupidly I stared at her sparkling smile. I felt like a child, a clumsy, awkward child. Sparks kept hitting me in the face and catching on my clothes. A few tugged at her short blond hair and bounced off the sweet dimples in her cheeks.
“Hi” she said tilting her head to the side as if she knew I was an idiot. My throat stuck, but I managed to answer.
“Hello. What’s your name?” my voice cracked. She giggled as a pink spark flitted by her button nose. Shyly she shuffled her feet. “Its Crystal. What’s yours?”
“Adrian.” I answered. My brow was beginning to sweat. I looked around. “Strange place don’t you think?” She raised an eyebrow at my question..
“Its just a bookstore.” Crystal answered, and just like that the bookstore reappeared around us.
“Oh yes of course, I know. You like books then?” This beautiful creature smiled and nodded. “Actually I work here.” She explained. My heart thudded in my thin chest. Crystal was short and soft. The space around her glimmered like sunlight on water.
“Can I help you find anything Adrian?” Crystal asked. I blinked.
“I’m looking for a book about alternate realities.” I answered.
“I know just the book for you. Right this way.” As she spoke a million golden stars shot out of her mouth. Crystal was angelesque. A bright shining star. She led me to a back corner. We stopped in front of a shelf and she began to reach up for a book. She was just an inch to short. “Which one?” I asked. Crystal pointed. Heat radiated from her. The ground was shaking. I was shaking.
“So, I was wondering, Crystal.” I began to ask. Pausing I glanced at her gleaming face. Her eyes were pools of mercury, swirling in the light.
“Yes?” she prompted.
“I was wondering if you’d like to go get a coffee with me. This afternoon?” I asked. A shock like a thousand bees stinging me at once shot through my body. I rocked a little from side to side from the impact.
“I’d love to. Let me give you my number. I’m off at 2.” Crystal reached for a pen. She grabbed my hand and wrote down a number on the palm. Blushing with happiness I thanked her then turned to purchase my book.
As I walked outside into the glaring heat of the day I looked down at my palm. To my dismay my hand had sweated away the number. A jolt of fear racked my body. I was already 4 blocks away. Disregarding the heat and crowd of people pushing past me, I turned and sprinted back to the store. Bursting in I ran through looking for Crystal. She was no where to be found. Trembling I approached the cashier. “Excuse me.” I asked calmly, ”I’m looking for an employee here named Crystal. She’s short, has short blonde hair, and has a round face.” The cashier just stared. I could feel the ground fall beneath me. “There’s no one named Crystal working here.”
“Are you sure?” I asked frantic,”She just helped me.” The cashier shook his long greasy hair. His breath smelled like tobacco and old shoes.
“I’m sorry sir,” He said. Disappointed I turned my back on him. A sickening feeling welled up inside. Numbly I stumbled back out onto the street. In my hand was clasped the book. Sitting down on a bench outside the store I began to peruse the cover. “Magic or Science: Relativity for the Average Soul” stared at me in glossy white on a shiny backdrop of space. I glanced at the author. Crystal Barnes, I read. Confused I flipped to the bio in the back. There was a picture of a short, blond, happy round faced Crystal smiling sweetly at me. Snapping the book shut I closed my eyes.
“Well there you are Adrian. I’m off early. How about that coffee?” Opening my eyes I turned. The world shimmered and fell away. Sparks flew at my face and the air grew thin. “All right.” I said and grinned.