video store romance

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videotape ink sketchMatija and Rooney watched the toddler run down the aisles knocking videos from shelves. His mother stood idly. She was reading the movie descriptions on the back covers. Rooney counted five aisles with videotapes sprawled across the carpeted floor. She threw a glance at Matija.

Even under the harsh fluorescent lighting, Matija was radiant. Her hair draped like a Greek goddess, her small lips shaped like Cupid’s bow. Matija caught Rooney staring at her. They both blushed and returned to work.

Matija stood behind the counter. She grabbed a videotape, snapped open the plastic lid, checked that it had been rewind, then scanned it into the computer as Returned. She glanced at her admirer. Rooney’s thin body and lanky limbs reminded Matija of a cartoon character. She smiled.

“Excuse me miss. Can you help me find a movie?”

Matija leaned over the counter to see a small man with thick glasses wearing a cotton sweater vest.

“Of course, what was the name?”

The old man’s sad eyes and short, hunched physique tugged at Matija’s tender heart. She felt a sudden surge of helpfulness.

“I don’t remember,” he said.

“That’s okay, do you know what it’s about,” she said pushing aside the stack of returned videos.

“I don’t remember, but there were a guy and girl in it.”

“Do you remember the actors or actresses?”

“No, but the guy had black hair, and the girl had black or blond hair,” the man pointed his finger in the air as though these details were important.

“Do you remember when it came out?” she said.

“Sometime in the 80s, maybe the 90s,” he scratched his head.

In the background, Rooney’s voice asked the boy to stop. The mother lazily said, “Don’t do that, dear.”

“It was definitely a comedy, a drama, or an action film,” said the old man.

Matija tightened her lips as impatience grew inside her. Meanwhile, the toddler had begun to scream and cry.

Rooney was grateful for the son’s wailing since it forced the mother to leave the store. She reorganized the aisles while glancing at Matija. Matija was now biting her lower lip. Rooney would give anything to kiss away the stress.

“Is this movie any good?”

The man’s voice took Rooney by surprise since she hadn’t noticed there was another customer in the store. He seemed grungy and twitchy, like the drifters who slept on the park benches near her apartment.

“Ya’ know I haven’t seen it, but a lot of people say it’s scary,” said Rooney

“How ‘bout this one?” he said lifting a movie to show her.

The man followed Rooney around the store, asking if this one or that one was any good. Rooney’s patience was running thin. Eventually, he asked if there was a way to find a specific movie.

“Matija, at the counter, can help you,” she said with relief.

Before she resumed to organizing the aisles, a voice came up behind her.

“Excuse me miss? Can you help me find a movie?”

Rooney turned to see an older gentleman with thick glasses wearing a cotton sweater vest.

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