Monday, February 9, 2004

by Jessica Delfino

"So, when can you come over?" she yelled into the receiver. He answered, "I'll be there in half an hour." She hung up and started frantically running around her apartment. "This place is a mess!" she yelled out to no one in particular. Her cat nodded in agreement. She grabbed arm loads of socks, towels and shirts off the couch. They'd been there for days since she pulled them out of the dryer. She passed a mirror hanging on the wall as if it was the first time she ever knew it was there and exclaimed as if she had never seen her own reflection before, "Oh, my god," she yelled. "My hair is a mess, too!"

She slid along the wood floor in her soft white socklettes, the ones she wore around her apartment to keep it sanitary. "I don't want to drag the dirt and germs in off the floor," she said to a friend on the phone one time. "There is TB all over the ground in this city!" she yelled ferociously into the speaking hole. Her friend agreed, unsure.

"Come on, kitty," she yelled. "Up you go!" She waved her hands around the cat frantically. The cat squinted it's eyes and nose and made a face at her, twisting it's neck left and right, trying to decide whether to run or fight. "Go on, get outta here!" she yelled again. The cat soared off the couch and disappeared into a corner to sulk.

A knock on the door later, she started really freaking out. "You're not supposed to be here yet! You're not supposed to be here yet!" she howled. "You're not supposed to be here yet!" she whined loudly through the door. She pulled the door open and the chain caught the wall. "Hi," he said awkwardly. "I'm a bit early, I know." He held up a bouquet of flowers and kind of wagged them at her. "These are for you," he said. She took the flowers through the space between the door and the wall. "Thank you," she said. "You'll have to come back in fifteen minutes," she said. "I'm not ready to see you yet." He shifted and looked down at the ground. "Well, you look beautiful to me," he said. He sniffled a little bit and shifted his weight again, back to where it had been. "I appreciate your kind comment," she said. "And thank you for the flowers," she added, in the softest voice she could muster, which was still two octaves above a normal speaking voice. "Yeah, no problem," he said. "But, you will have to come back in fifteen minutes," she insisted. "I'm sorry. We made an agreement on the phone of what time you would be over. You are twenty minutes early. I'm letting you come back in fifteen minutes, so I'm allowing you five early minutes, which is something I don't normally do. An agreement is an agreement," she said. "OK," he answered. "I guess I'll just be back in a few minutes, then." She closed the door. "Thank you for understanding," she yelled through the door. "See you in a few."

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