I WAS NOT IN an even slightly romantic mood. I'd had an enormous row with my husband just moments ago and tonight's dinner was getting thrown into the trolley any old how. I almost wanted something to break. Only that would involve talking and explanations and apologising, and I wasn't in the mood for that either. A headache was brewing behind my eyes and I just wanted to get home, eat, and forget about the whole disaster of a day.
The people around me were irritating; why couldn't they just shop somewhere else? Especially whoever that was, with his big boots just where I wanted to go. I stopped and looked up. And up. The guy was well over six foot, not much older than me, with a bushy beard. Not my type at all. And yet, as our eyes met, the oddest flash passed between us. It wasn't just physical attraction. As I said, he wasn't my type, and I knew I wasn't looking my best with my red face and stony expression. No, it was more like a connection. Like we recognised each other without ever having met. But it was so quick, so transient, and I'd already walked away. But I knew that wouldn't be the end.
Sure enough, as I stood trying to remember what else was on my list, he came and stood next to me. We were at the end of an aisle, he couldn't be looking at something else. He was just standing close. I knew what to do. I should look up, smile, address a remark to him. Just something commonplace. He would understand. But I couldn't think of anything to say. And did I want to? Really? I touched my wedding ring. Yes, we'd had an argument, but was that a good enough reason to throw our marriage away because of one look? It might not be any better. I didn't believe in soulmates. So I did nothing and he walked away.
I saw him one more time, after I'd rejoined my husband at the checkout. He came up behind us in the queue. I'd have smiled, but he didn't look at me. The relief and disappointment were equal.
"Let's go home, shall we?" asked my husband. That was his way of apologising. He never said sorry, just pretended nothing had happened.
"Okay," I said. We took a bag each and walked out together. I looked back once, but he'd gone.
Abigail lives with her husband in an inconvenient cottage in the Scottish highlands. She's most recently been published in Whim magazine and Pulchritude Press. Her hobbies include fishing, napping, and drinking very good wine. You can follow her on Instagram under the name @bewriting.