If he were paying any attention to me, he would have realized that I was collecting my thoughts about how to dissuade him in following me to my apartment—and going with me to the early market. Also, I have to use the rear entrance of the building to get to my apartment to avoid the prying eyes of Mrs. Steinmann, my elderly neighbor, who consistently checks in on me the weekends I am at home wondering why I’m not dating anyone. Her son runs a successful business downtown, and if I want she’d be more than happy to “fix me up” with him. Usually, opt to walk the twelve flights of steps just to avoid her hearing the elevator ping and rushing to the eyepiece in her keyhole in case I were to bring anyone “new” home.
But not this night. I needed a quick out from this one–and fast.
“We’re here,” I said.
“Wow, you live across from Ashley?” He said.
“Yeah. So thanks for dinner.”
“So I meet you here at what time tomorrow?”
“In the evening?”
“No, 7:30 in the morning.”
Please say no.
“Well 7:30 it is then!”
He leaned in to kiss me goodnight. I opt to reach for the elevator call button.
“See you in the morning.”
He watched as I called the elevator and waved when I got on. Mrs. Steinmann was there when I got off.
“You stayed out later than usual dear; is everything alright?”
“Everything’s fine. Goodnight, Mrs. Steinmann.”
I entered my apartment and Bert was there in the corner of his aquarium to greet me.
“What a night, Bert.”
Why what happened?
Is it Ashley again?
“Yeah you know it. I have to start working late.”
No. Even on Fridays?
No more Iron Chef?
“We will have to move it to Saturdays, Bert. I hope you don’t mind?”
Just as long as we are together.
“We are and always will be.”
I pulled my chaise closer to Bert’s tank and dropped in a dried shrimp for his midnight snack while I nibbled the last cucumber from the fridge. We decided to watch Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen.
It was just that kind of night.