Flash Fiction Friday: Visiting
I went to her house on a Saturday in the month of September. The imminent autumn was hinting at the edges of the leaves on the sycamores lining her driveway. When I rang her doorbell, I saw her form through the rippled glass get up from the couch, check her reflection in the mirror, and finally open the door to welcome me inside.
She smiled and her teeth were very white, perhaps it was the lighting. We exchanged air-kisses and asked each other questions without answering any truthfully. We could not bear to burden each other with unnecessary concern.
We sat in her living room in two cigar chairs beneath an abstract painting. The room was very neat and everything was in shades of white and red, very modern and new to me. My eyes grazed over the bookshelves behind her: two Taschen titles, three cookbooks, and five beginner’s guides to different languages (French, Portuguese, Russian, German, and Hindi). The books were arranged by color.
She made us dinner, something with a French name that she pronounced with an accent. It was mediocre but I made a pleasantly surprised face when I took the first bite because she was watching me carefully. Afterward we talked over glasses of wine. She mentioned that she was planning to travel around Europe as soon as she could get some time off from work. I recommended some places I knew in Vienna and Prague, and she wrote down the names on a pad of paper, promising me she would try to see all of them.
I took my dishes to the kitchen and put them in the sink despite her polite protestations. Her refrigerator had two magnets on it and nothing else. I mentioned that it was dark outside and I put on my coat. She exclaimed that she had almost forgotten to give me something. She opened the closet beneath the stairs and reached for a box on the highest shelf. Behind her, I saw a tangled mess of things. Nearest to the door was an old pair of men’s boots with mud still crusting the soles. She retrieved the box and quickly shut the door, explaining, embarrassed, that she still hadn’t had the time to organize the closet.
We exchanged air-kisses again, left-right-left-right, and she smiled widely as she bade me goodbye. She waved in my headlights as I backed out, and stood outside in her driveway until she disappeared from my rear-view mirror.