I arrived at Andrea’s apartment building about ten minutes early. I double checked the address, thought about buzzing her early but talked myself out of it. I didn’t want to appear too eager. I walked about a half block down and leaned against the wall of the convenience store next door. I tried to get myself interested in people watching but my eyes kept drifting back to her building. I looked up, counting floors. Her place was 404. I had no idea if that meant it was a front apartment or one in the rear.
Five minutes until I was supposed to buzz her and it felt like 20 minutes had passed already. I turned around to read the notices on the bulletin board, but there was nothing that I hadn’t already read, twice. Two minutes. OK, now I could go to the door. I stared at my watch, tick tick tick, the second hand was certainly taking its time. OK, finally. I punched in the numbers, heart hammering in my chest. What if my watch was running fast? Or if I’d misremembered her apartment number?
The door buzzed and I pulled it open. I started off down the hall and was several steps in before I realized that I’d already passed the elevator. Yeah, it had an elevator, which automatically made it one of the nicer apartment buildings in the area. I knew this because I’d been living on the fifth floor of a walk up for several months now and though I appreciated my increased lung capacity and hard calf muscles, I would trade it for an elevator ride in a split second. If I could afford it.
Heart now pounding at a reckless pace, I was soon at her door. Hers was a rear facing apartment, which meant all the staring I’d been doing from the front side of the building had been at other people’s windows. I was actually relieved hers wasn’t the apartment that apparently had 5 cats living in it.
I knocked, firmly but not too hard and not too fast. Confident knocking, that’s what I was trying to do. Project confidence, fake it til you make it. As I waited for her to come to the door, I realized my mouth was as dry as a cardboard box and I felt a surge of panic that I wouldn’t be able to speak.
I was trying to generate saliva in my mouth so I could swallow, when the door opened. I stood for what felt like a full minute with my mouth hanging open. She had piled her hair up and her face was made up more and was wearing a dress that hugged her curves like a Maserati.
“Speechless, huh? Well, aren’t you charming. Come in for a moment, I’m not quite done getting ready.”
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