Chapter 2: A cup of blessings

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Wednesday was groceries' day. At some point in the long past, there was a particular reason for him to pick that day—and only that day—for buying his weekly essentials, though he no longer remembered it. Wednesdays just felt right. They had a laxness to them: neither the dread of Mondays nor the chaos of Fridays. They sat right smack in the middle, almost as if balancing the whole workweek on their head, so the world seemed alive, but tame.

Safe. It just felt safe. Not that he had many reasons to expose himself to the world every week, Wednesdays or not. Once every month would suffice, given that he ate very little, and consumed other frivolities even less often. Somewhen in the past, too, he'd changed his schedule for buying groceries only once every month to once every week. As with his choice of the groceries' day, the exact time of the change eluded him, but the reason was much clearer than ever: «she is so pretty.»

He stood idly at the entry of the market. Time slowed down whenever he saw her. 'Pretty' wasn't the best word. 'Hot' was.

That was a perk he hadn't considered at all when moving to that country—well, not consciously, at least: people there looked much more beautiful than the average—almost astonishingly so—, and girls who would be models elsewhere were usually teachers, drivers, or cashiers in that land. The most average of them looked like models; the better ones, like angels. Competition was so stiff even the cutest gals didn't think too highly of themselves, and many of them probably even faced a good deal of self-esteem issues, becoming easy (or at least easier) preys for men with just a little bit of balls between their legs.

He wasn't such a man. In fact, he might was well have been born a girl, so paltry was his pair. He remembered how it took him an Herculian deal of effort to even just look at a woman in the eyes for the first time—and that was with his fucking phychiatrist! His experiences taught him to never again even try and address a lady. Ever. «Just a waste.» He lowered his head and walked in. «Don't bother them. You're just a waste.»

Yet still, he couldn't stop thinking about the pretty girl at the register as he loaded the bags on his cart. He sometimes stopped between the lanes just to have another glance at her, all while making sure he'd never pause for longer than three seconds, more or less. He had become quite an expert at being a lurker without being a creep. He didn't want to make pretty girls uncomfortable, yes, but he also wasn't going to deny himself the pleasure of seeing them. «The sight of a pretty woman is a human right,» he sometimes justified to himself.

At first glance, that girl in the counter was polar opposite of one he'd purchased, and not just from the fact that she was, well, actually real. She was slim and very feminine, hardly weighting nine and a half stones, and definitely without a drop of tomboyishness in her whole demeanor. She was an all-around princess, yet she still carried that humbled, honest look of someone who didn't have all things in life handed in a silver plate—beauty aside, of course.

She looked down-to-earth. Real. Just like him. He loved to imagine how much better the world would be from her point of view. Good parents, great country, strong relationships, calm and peaceful society. How would it feel to have people always smiling when they looked at you? Treating you like a human being? Showing you always the better angels of their nature?

Should feel nice, he sighed. A world less dry, less threatening. A world where he'd be safe anywhere, anyday, not just on Wedsnedays, and definitely not by living at the very edge of the frozen outskirts of Earth.

He calmly placed his items one by one on his cart. Stopping by the frozen goods, he gave one good look at all he'd bought and realized his lifestyle wasn't all that bad. «I'm not that much a loser,» he smiled, if only briefly. There was not a bit of organic food or spice in sight, yes, but at least he was past the point of consuming only ready-made goods and frozen junk.

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