This is an account of the most perfect and idealized relationship of my life: my exchanges with the cute guy at Mustard’s. I have been back home for a month and have visited my old greasy, delicious haunt once. The cute guy was not there. I'm terrified to go back and learn what is likely the truth: I've lost him.
I do know the cute guy at Mustards’ name. I do not call him by his name. I learned his name by accident, when another guy who worked at the hotdog/burger joint Mustard’s Last Stand called him by name and I overheard. It’s Isaac, but that doesn’t matter unless someday I come back and he’s not working there one time too many and I have to ask the person taking my order if Isaac is still around. Until then, he will always be, variously, the cute guy at Mustard’s, the cute Latino guy at Mustard’s, the Mustard’s guy, and maybe the love of my life.
When I worked at a record store four blocks away from it, Mustard’s was a regular stop for me. Every once in a while, I’d do a Mustard’s run for myself and my coworkers, usually Adam or Mike, usually during one of the “groovefests” during which we would only play 60’s and 70’s fusion jazz all night, no matter what the customers or Hannah, listening to the newest Ed Banger release upstairs, said. (Though I love both Hannah and Ed Banger, you don't stop the groove.)
I’m not sure when the cute guy at Mustard’s began to catch my eye. In fact, I really don’t have that much to say about him. My memories of him are sparse and mostly consist of him winking at me, pulling from the tip jar so he could give me better change, speeding along my order, or giving me extra fries. Sometimes, he called me “Darlin'.” Sometimes we talked, briefly, about my career at the University of Colorado, which helped me lead him to believe that I was older than I was (I was there a year early and wasn’t even eighteen yet). Once, when they had a Christmas contest for Denver Avalanche tickets, he held my envelope away from me and told me that I had to promise that if I won, I’d take him. I bit my lip, trying not to swoon, and agreed (I didn’t win, of course).
The last time I was back home, I went to Mustard’s twice. The cute guy was there once, when I went with my friend. I had briefly told my friend in the car on the way there of the cute guy, and he made fun of me the whole time, as I used the bathroom twice in order to look in the back and ate my fries as slowly as possible so as to stay longer. The cute guy has a new arm sleeve tattoo that I hardly got a glimpse of and hope to examine further.
I don’t know what I would do if the cute guy at Mustard’s asked for my phone number (largely because my cell phone doesn’t work at my house in the mountains, elevation 7,800 feet, and I would have to give him my home phone number) or asked me on a date. (Also, please please please never let him read this blog post.) I really don’t want anything more from him. As I told my friend, the best part of a relationship are the ideas it awakens in us, the possibilities we imagine with that person, and this is a relationship that is all possibility.
In all honesty, I will be devastated if he has (or ever does) quit his job.