“What can I do for you?” she asked me in a genteel tone, and in that moment I fell in love. Not the lightning strike kind of love, or even the love at first sight version, but something in between the two, something fuzzy and distinct at the same time.
I said absolutely nothing as I stared at her for far too long to be appropriate, but the smile never left her face. She waited me out with a grace I hadn’t seen in quite some time.
“Is there something you needed today?” she asked, glancing behind me at the gathering line, prodding me forward.
“I need to open a new account,” I squeaked out, embarrassed at the obvious nature of my infatuation. My face turned three shades of red, but I maintained eye contact and ventured a smile of my own.
The placard on the counter said her name was Melody, a sweet sound that resonated with me for many reasons, not the least of which was my affinity for opera. But she didn’t resemble an opera singer. Quite the opposite. She reminded me of Joan Jett even though her hair was shoulder length and the mascara was the only makeup. There was just something in the curl of her lip, and in the smoky nature of her gaze.
“To open a new account you’ll need two forms of ID, and it will take about 20 minutes, depending on your existing bank,” she said, hesitating just long enough before answering to remind me that she was busy. I worried that she would shuffle me off to someone else who I was sure would be competent, but who also wasn’t her.
“And can you open that account for me now?” I asked, trying not to sound desperate, but needing her to acquiesce, needing just a little more time to breathe the same air.
She paused, her mouth open as if about to say something she reconsidered, her eyebrows subtly raised, a questioning glance.
“I can give you my card,” she said, and it was not what she had been intending to say. That much was obvious. But it was what actually came out of her mouth as she extracted a business card from the holder next to her name and slid it across the surface of the counter to me. Our hands briefly touched as I reached for it, and I pulled it away reluctantly.
“Call me and we can set up an appointment,” her lips said, and her eyes followed, those thick black lashes obscuring her gaze but not her intent. In that moment I believed that there could be a chance she might love me too, even though we had just met, and I trusted that instinct in spite of myself.
“I’ll do that,” I said, putting her business card in my breast pocket and turning to go. The sun at noon shone in brightly through the glass door of the bank, freezing the image of her in my mind. I closed my eyes and stood still, letting it wash over me, and letting hope in.