He first saw her in the second grade with her brown hair flailing about and her yellow dress whipping back and forth as she pumped her legs to get higher and higher on the swings as he waited his turn. When she finally let go of the chains to soar through the air he flinched as her Mary Janes hit the dirt hard, surrounding her in a cloud of dust that sparkled as though it had tiny diamonds floating in it. He blushed and ran away never daring to venture toward the swing set again.
Just the same he would not see her again until middle school when for a whole semester she sat behind him in algebra class and every now and then when she passed her homework to the front, he noticed that the sides were singed, but because no one else seemed to care, he couldn’t bring himself to ask her why.
And when in the tenth grade his best friend and her’s decided to set them up, they complied and for a whole week in December held hands all around school, and he thought they were the warmest things he’d ever touched. A week later she broke up with him, trying her best to politely tell him that when they got to close he smelled of gasoline. Funny, he always thought it was her.
After high school, working his first job at the postal store, he would see her through the large front windows, driving by unaware of him and always followed by the sharp sound of tires burning out.
And now, ten years later they stood the only two in line in that same postal store without an employee in sight. They could only look at each other anyway, both their faces congealing with recognition, both hoping that the other would either speak up first or not say anything at all. And finally when he felt gurgling in his throat the words “don’t I know you…” they both jumped at the sound of rubber screeching on asphalt and the window pane bursting into flickering little shards like fireworks. Headlights, grill, hood and windshield hurdling toward them, into them and over them. And there under the heat of a now flame engulfed vehicle all he could see was her in a yellow dress, swinging back and forth trying to get as high as she could before she had the nerve to jump.