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Melody Fike

I was in the backroom, folding a new shipment of fabric when I heard the bell clatter. He was here.
            I stepped out into the lobby. ‘Simon! Thanks for squeezing me in.’
            Placing my hands in my pockets, I shrug. ‘It’s no problem, Wednesdays are slow anyways.’ I cancelled two clients for him. But he didn’t need to know that.
            It was all part of our unspoken game. Playing coy, making up stories, all just to tease the other. And he was awfully good at it. I’ve been trying for fifteen years to catch some discrepancy in his tale, in the ages of his ‘children’ or date of his alleged anniversary. ‘What can I do for you?’
            ‘The damn sleeve ripped again. I reached for my coffee in a board meeting and the seam popped open.’ He held the olive jacket that draped over his arm to me and grumbled, ‘The boys in accounting busted a gut and they won’t shut up about it.’
            I pretended to search for the rip along the forearm. I knew exactly where it was. A few flimsy stitches did the trick, brought him back to me. Otherwise, it could’ve been months before he visited again. ‘Ah, what a shame.’
            Sticking my finger in the hole, I smile up at him. ‘It’s not a problem though. Hell – I’ll measure you up for a new one, on the house.’
            ‘Really? You sure?’ he stammered, and I nodded. ‘I mean, if you insist.’
            We stepped back into the fitting rooms. Though I wrapped the measuring tape around him, I didn’t look at the numbers, I knew his form. It was purely a ritual. One where he stands so patiently as my model, and I take in his smell of some sandalwood cologne and hashbrowns, all while making small talk about the Mets.
            ‘Pickup on Tuesday?’ I asked after we finished.
            He frowned. ‘Sarah has a tee-ball game then. How about Thursday?’
            ‘Thursday it is. See you then.’ He gave me a small wave as he left.
            Tee-ball, I thought as I returned to the fabric in the back. What a clever little lie.