Smiling at the Punk Rock Girl

“That’s what I said.” And she walked away. Just like that. Sometimes I don’t understand. Sometimes I don’t think I ever will understand. You just kind of hang on for the ride and expect the unexpected.

That’s how my last relationship ended. It’s a little hard to start up again after a kick in the gut like that. But somehow you always do, like a moth drawn to the flame, I guess.

I’m the kind of guy who notices girls go by all the time. I end up categorizing them in my head, filing them away, based on other girls I’ve known or seen or think about. It’s totally subjective, totally superficial, and usually totally wrong. But I do it anyway. I find I can at least surprise myself.

The other day I had this girl pegged as a punk rock rebel. Not the stylish punker girls who do it because it’s on the cover of some fashion rag, but the ones who had lip rings in sixth grade. She had all the markings. Hair cut short, dyed black, noticeably not styled. Thick chain around the neck. Lip ring. Several earrings. Clompy boots with thick heals. Checkered pajama pants and an oversized hooded sweatshirt. She was hanging out with a couple black guys, one quiet and over bearing, the other loud and puppet-like. He seemed to want everyone around to think he was all that, but he wasn’t quite.

I thought I had the girl pegged, but then she smiled. It was a sweet, innocent smile. Not the kind of smile you expect from a girl with steel-toed boots, and an attitude to match. Usually the punk rock girls would give me a glare that would send even the remotest notions packing.

But she smiled like I’d discovered her secret and she didn’t want anyone else to know. It made me feel warm inside, and when I looked away I was smiling and trying not to glow too much.

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