Chapter 2 (2 of 5)
As the week came and went, Astara physically suffered as she couldn’t stop her thoughts about Skylar. She became overwhelmed with these thoughts and visions. “What do they mean?” she thought to herself. Every day that Skylar came in, Astara felt such an intense pull towards Skylar, that she was becoming stressed around his presence. Astara couldn’t help but make her rounds throughout the book store and steal side glances at Skylar. She watched him from her peripheral as she entered his area to return books to their rightful places that customers decided they no longer wanted and had set books down in random spots throughout the store. She just couldn’t contain herself, but she needed to decode the reason why she was feeling the way she was for absolutely no reason at all, or at least that’s what she thought. A small voice inside her head was persistent and filled her mind with fantasies she knew could never exist. For a strong girl, she couldn’t beat the thoughts away. The more she tried to push the thoughts away, the more persistent the thoughts became.
Astara pushed the book cart towards Skylar. There was a book shelf right beside him. Every step she took towards him, her body became hot and tense. Her ears started to warm and her palms became sweaty. “I wonder if he’ll look my way?” she thought. “Why would he even bother looking if he’s never looked before.” She continued. “Well, then again I’ve never looked at him looking at me before, so I guess I wouldn’t know if he was ever looking at me.” Astara rolled her cart a few feet away from Skylar and just as she was going to tap him on the shoulder to ask if it were OK that she was that close to his space as she put books away, she quickly realized that Skylar was already looking at her from his side eye as well, but not directly at her, it was more like he was looking downward at her. A way to check her out while avoiding direct eye contact. Astara gleamed for a brief moment as she leaned over to get his actual attention and he looked up at her as she said, “Excuse me, do you mind if I put these books away being so close to your space?” Skylar gave her a head nod.
Astara couldn’t believe she had caught him giving her the side eye. “I wonder if he has always done that or if it was just coincidence?” she wondered to herself. “I’m probably over thinking it, I’m sure! I must be the only crazy one feeling like a total sob.” She did notice that Skylar wasn’t wearing a ring. “Maybe he’s single?” she wondered on. “Oh this is just crazy, I have a boyfriend anyway. I must move on, this just doesn’t feel right. What’s wrong with me?!” she yelled helplessly in her mind.
Astara’s boyfriend was no prize. At first he was charming, sweet, said all the right things and wined and dined Astara, and soon after she fell victim to it. Her boyfriend was into partying at large social events and worked with important people within the community and across the country. He was loved by many and respected by all those who came to know him as Astara had first gotten to know him. They met at a large social gathering and event. Astara was an assistant to a local author whom was signing books and promoting their new release. Her boyfriend attended the event in support of high end vendors for a large corporation networking and support. He made good money and seemed kind and genuine to his superiors. He was incredibly busy networking and traveling more often than not, but Astara’s charismatic personality surely won him over when she caught his eye at that stand.
Their relationship was rocky from the start, but it was as though misery enjoyed each other’s company. Chandler, Astara’s boyfriend was very handsome and well known with the ladies. Girls flocked to him like cotton handy on wet fingers. They knew he made a lot of money and he was handsome. They tried endlessly to get him to take them home. Chandler was faithful to Astara, but their relationship was emotionally toxic. He often degraded her personality and talked down to her as if he was superior to her. He often treated her as though she was merely a child. He often mentioned how hard he worked, the things he’s accomplished and amount of work he has to do in order to provide a good future for them. Astara never asked for Chandler to provide for her or them to his idea of providing, but she’s been made to feel that Chandler must do so in order to live a good life.
Astara has grown tired of the treatment that Chandler gives to her. It’s been demanding on Astara’s mental and emotional health. Astara never knew any better to leave, because she thought that maybe he needed her in many ways. She also doesn’t know she deserves better and that there is better out there for her. Astara thought to herself that one day she’ll gain courage and strength to leave Chandler, but right now wasn’t her time. She knew she had to stick it out longer, but also felt that the universe had something special in store just for her.
Chandler is a master manipulator and he finds ways to not only manipulate those around him, but also Astara. When the two would have an argument, he was able to control every situation and eventually win in the end and get what he wanted. Although he loves Astara, the thought of losing her put a dent in his competitive ego. If they were to break up, it would have to be him to break things off, because he wanted to be sure that he could say he broke things off and not the other way around. The a breakup could hurt his image if Astara was the one to cut ties first, because everyone would want to know why and what was wrong with Chandler and in his eyes there was nothing wrong. That’s the façade he played out everyday. Chandler was good at manipulating her to stay. He spoke of broken promises that he’d change, but nothing ever came of his words.
Astara always kept her interests and hobbies to herself. She tucked her talents away in the closet, because Chandler didn’t support or like them. Since he was successful he didn’t want Astara hurting his image with her silly lifestyle. Everything she enjoyed made absolutely no sense to Chandler and therefore he belittled her in ways that eventually cut so deep in Astara, that she just rolled over and submitted. She began to think she was silly and believed everything that made her her, was unrealistic and ridiculous. Chandler had made many inappropriate comments for everything Astara has put time and energy into, which eventually left her emotionally drained. It seemed as though life started to fly by and Astara was left feeling lost, empty, hopeless and demotivated in life. She became stuck in limbo, dazed and confused as to what to do with her life. She wanted to please Chandler, but nothing seemed good enough. Eventually she retreated to a dark space for comfort, because it was then she felt as though she just didn’t have anything or enough to offer the world and her boyfriend. She also convinced herself that she wouldn’t be good enough for anyone else either.
Astara continued on her daily tasks at the book store. She tried not to think about Skylar, but couldn’t help but to peak at him once in a while. When lunch time was just about over, all of her customers gave a friendly good-bye on their way out. George, her customer with the dog grooming complications walked up and said, “I’m going to do it. I’m going to reach out and take this matter to the CEO. I hope to get a resolution. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thank you for the encouragement!” George spouted on and continued out the door. “Huh? Apparently, I had an entire conversation about how George should contact the CEO of the grooming business and resolve his issues further. I have no recollection of this conversation. I must of completely veered off as soon as Skylar came through the door.” Astara thought to herself. “Well, alrighty then.”
As Astara stood by the door and said, “See you tomorrow!” to all her customers, she noticed Skylar slowly making his way to the door. As she pretended she wasn’t paying attention to him, she could see him in her peripheral. She noticed he had stopped by the table closest to the door and closest to her to reach in his bag and grab out his sunglasses and keys. Then he slowly lingered toward the door. “Enjoy the rest of your day, Mr. Storm and see you tomorrow!” Astara carefully, but gleefully said to Skylar. “Take care.” Skylar responded. “Ugh… That went well? I wasn’t too obvious, right?” Astara went on about under her breath.
The day seemed to fly by. Before Astara knew it, her shift was over. She headed home to the dreadful place she’s called home for awhile now. She never knew just how unhappy she really was until her dream. Her dream really expanded her mind, thoughts and feelings. She took it as a sign. Astara has buried her intuition for many years and she believed that the universe had had enough of her ignoring signs and sent out a flare signal it knew she wouldn’t be able to ignore or push aside. What better way than to plant a mysterious cliff hanger deep within the cranium. Something she couldn’t run from. It was the perfect time and perfect setting. It was simply blissful.
When Astara made it home. It was the usual routine. Clean, cook, clean and be a part the unhappy live triangle she was currently in the middle of. Chandler arrived home shortly after, stressed from work as usual. He went on about how everyone drives him nuts at work and how people don’t know how to do their jobs. It’s the usual conversation, day after day. It’s incredibly old and Astara is certainly exhausted from listening to him. It’s emotionally draining and all she could think about was going back to work and seeing Skylar, because it was such a small glimpse into hope for her. She hadn’t felt alive in such a long time, that Skylar just popping into her life in complete random had really awakened her to endless possibilities she never knew she could do, because Chandler spent years restricting Astara’s uniqueness.
Astara suddenly felt motivated to relight a once incredibly dim and dying flame. “Hello? Are you listening?” Astara heard this tiny voice off into the distance say. “Huh? Did to say something?” Astara asked Chandler. “Yea, I said are you listening to anything I’m saying to you?” Astara wanted so badly to say no, but she felt fear with that sort of answer, so she responded with “Mmhhmm.” Chandler continued to ramble on how everything was stressing him out and the more he rambled on, the more Astara’s head swelled. She started to imagine how Skylar would act in this same situation. How he would treat her. If he would talk down to her. If he would use her as his personal punching bag. If he would inevitably talk about work all the time and the people associated with his work. She zoned out thinking about Skylar. She imagined a peaceful and quite life with him.
Astara’s work week seemed to fly by. It was as though the time just didn’t exist. Every day seemed to wash into the next day. It was mostly because she wanted to speed the time up while she was home, just so that she could see Skylar again at work. Every day she saw Skylar, she grasped onto the small glimpse of interaction she would have with him. She had no idea if Skylar had a beloved one at home or if he had any interest in her what so ever. She feared he was already taken and since she technically wasn’t available either, it really left a hole in her heart. It wasn’t until this one day at work, that a small light bulb had gone off in her head and started to open her eyes to things she had no idea she was looking over until this very moment that had happened. While at work, Astara almost overlooked a clue that Skylar was inevitably giving her, but how long had he been giving her clues? Her heart lite up for a brief moment with excitement! Could this be a clue that Skylar is in fact interested in her? Or is she assuming and over thinking this small incident? A gut instinct told her to tune in and to not overlook it, so Astara took notes as she recorded this very eventful clue.
It was then, that Astara’s perception changed and it was then that Astara opened up to following her intense intuition when it came to her sudden connection for Skylar.
To be continued, November 3rd…
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