The brass bell on the door jingled, and the most handsome man I’ve ever seen entered my furniture consignment shop. His rugged good looks, his tousled black hair and dark eyes that held a bit of mystery all added up to one thing – the man of my dreams. The problem is though, that guys like that don’t go for plain, practical girls like me. Besides, I work so hard just to make a living there’s little time for a social life, let alone romance. My mantra has become “Dream on, Rena,” for dreaming is about all I can do.
“I’ll be with you in a moment,” I called, and he nodded. I’ve always made it a point to observe my customers a bit before I approach them. It gives me an idea of their style and taste. So I watched as he examined a cushy brown leather sofa. When he sat down and stretched out his arms along the back cushions, I envisioned myself nestled right by his side.
Next he strolled over to a table of accessories and selected a pair of tall candlestick lamps. He held one of them against the sofa, then placed it on an end table and stepped back to view his choice. As he did, I couldn’t help but wince. In that instant he turned toward me, and I knew he’d seen my scowl. He pointed to the lamp, raised an eyebrow and mouthed, “Not this one?”
I shook my head “No” and gave a thumbs-down. I headed his way, stopping to pick up a handsome, tan ginger-jar lamp.
“This one is more in scale with the sofa,” I said. “It needs something chunkier than the candlestick base. The gourd-shaped green lamps over there would work beautifully, too.” I waved toward the pair. “They have nice visual weight.”
“I see what you mean,” he said, checking out the lamp I’d set down. He smiled and added, “You’re good.”
I blushed, hating my pale, Irish coloring that’s prone to turn as red as my hair. “It’s what I do,” I said. I returned his smile and handed him a business card I’d tucked into my jeans pocket. “I’m Rena Kelly, the new owner. I have a little design business, too. Rena’s Re-Mix."
“Nice to meet you. I’m Mitch Sanders. My insurance office is a couple of blocks north of you. I’m curious, Rena. What exactly is it you re-mix?”
“I specialize in re-designing your space using what you already own, or shopping for bargains like the ones here. Buying pre-owned helps with recycling, too. Keeps stuff out of our landfills.”
“Like ‘go green’ with the green gourd lamps?” His dark brown eyes twinkled when he grinned, and I noticed an appealing dimple in his chin. Dream on, Rena.
“Exactly,” I returned. “Every little thing helps.”
He gestured toward the sofa and started to speak when a tall blonde swept in. Regal in a navy suit and matching stilettos, she marched straight up to Mitch.
“There you are,” she said. “I thought you were meeting me at the Chinese place. What are you doing here?”
“Looking at furniture. I like this brown couch.”
“Used stuff?” she scoffed. “Seriously, Mitchell. Let’s go. I’m starving.”
She grabbed his hand and towed him toward the door. “Thanks, Rena,” he called. I watched them walk down the street. They made a striking couple -- picture perfect. His dark handsome looks teamed with her cool, blonde beauty would stand out in any crowd.
“Dream on, Rena,” I muttered. I didn’t stand a chance with a man like Mitch.
Mitch phoned the store on Monday to say he wanted the brown leather couch if it was still available. My heart turned one tiny cartwheel after another.
“It is,” I said. “I can have it delivered tomorrow, if you want.”
“You bet. I’ll take the green gourd lamps, too. I could also use some of your re-mixing expertise. Do you make appointments in the evenings?”
“Ye…yes,” I stammered. “What can I help you with?”
“I need some art work for the living room, maybe a couple of chairs. I just bought a condo, and it’s pretty bare.”
“Sure,” I replied. “I can drop by any evening after I close up. Will your girlfriend be helping you with the decorating? She certainly has good taste in fashion.”
“She’s not my girlfriend. Not my type. You know what they say: ‘All package and no contents.’”
“I’ve never heard that one before.”
“Me, neither,” he said. “I made it up. Just now.” We laughed together, and he added, “I like a woman with some common sense.”
We set up the appointment. He seemed pleased when I told him I’d bring some new framed prints I thought he’d like, along with my fabric sample books for color ideas.
“Rena, why don’t you eat dinner over here? After we’ve looked at the pictures, I’ll order pizza. We can watch a movie-- test out that new couch and my new big-screen TV."
”Sounds like a plan,” I said.
“Sounds like a plan,” he echoed. We finalized the details and rang off.
I flung my arms wide and closed my eyes. “Dream on, Rena!” I all but shouted it, loud and clear. This time, it felt just right.
About the Author: Joyce.H. Ackey is a teacher and writer who resides in central Florida. She finds inspiration in everyday events and ordinary people. Joyce shares her home with three spoiled cats, who keep her company as she writes. When not writing or teaching, she loves spending time with her two wonderful grandsons.