The loud knocking at my door did not startle me. It was 11:00 this morning and I knew the person on the other side of the door. It would be Sally. Sally lived in my apartment building. I live in 20-A and she calls apartment 30-A home. We were only good friends but everyone we were acquainted with thought our relationship was anything but normal. We could not understand our friends feeling this way. We both work out of our apartments. I am a starving artist and she a struggling writer. We did try dating each other several months ago but it was a disaster. We never see each other except during the week from 11:00 until 1:00 in the afternoon.
The louder than usual banging on the door made my bushy eyebrows arch and move closer together.
"Hold your horses you hell cat, I'm coming!"
A sarcastic grin wrenches the corners of her face, "Hi Charles. I don't have all day waiting for you to answer the door. Call me a hell cat will you! You look like a mad, dirty dog that did not get enough sleep last night. Shall we go? I am simply starving."
"I agree you are always starving and yes I am ready to go."
Making our way down the hall to the elevator I suddenly stopped, "Sally, do you always have to walk three or four steps in front of me?"
"I can't help it if you are as slow as a slug, "scoffs Sally, "I want to hurry and arrive at the cafe in time to get a decent table. It was your fault yesterday we were stuck with the tiny table next to the kitchen."
There was complete silence as the elevator made its way slowly downward. Stepping out unto the busy sidewalk Sally placed her arm through mine.
Squeezing my arm harder than I thought she should Sally stated in a deep growl, "Don't you own more sweaters than that moth-eating, smelly, ugly thing you wear everyday? Remind me to buy you a comb for Christmas."
Don't you worry about my brown sweater or brown hair. By the way, did you know most women have quit wearing their hair like Cher. It is the year 2000 you know."
Oh look Charles, isn't that poodle adorable?"
"Looks like a big rat with a fancy hairdo to me."
"Your just horrible! You probably think one of those ugly bull dogs is pretty."
"First a dog I would own would not be referred to as pretty and second a bull dog would be a man's dog. That sickly looking poodle is an extension of an ugly woman who thinks she is pretty."
"Charles do you notice how people stare at us? They must think we are a happy, loving, married couple."
"Please Sally, don't make me sick to my stomach when we are about to have lunch."
Sally pinching my arm very hard with her long, fake nails and electricity in her voice shouted, "Well, I sure am glad we are finally here!" Sally open the cafe door quickly and walking in hurriedly allowed the door to slam in my face. I open the door and slowly made my entrance. A waiter was already seating Sally at a table by the window over looking the street.
"What will you be having today Sally?"
"Charles you know I have the same thing everyday. A bake potato with everything they have to offer to put on top of it. I guess you will be having your soup of the day."
"Yes, yes and my usual slice of Mississippi Mud Cake!"
When we had finished our lunch the waiter brought our check to us as Sally was putting on her lipstick.
"Sally do you have to apply that god awful color of lipstick right here at the table?"
"Yes I do Charles and for your information all the models are wearing this shade."
"Models! Do they think any color on their lips will hide the fact they all look like pitiful, starved animals? Well at least you don't have to worry about that!"
The waiter nervously placed the check in front of Charles.
Pushing the check over to Sally, "It is your day to pay my dear."
Pushing the check back to Charles, "You know I paid our check yesterday. It is your turn today!"
"No it is not, I paid yesterday!"
Shouting, "Charles I will pacify you today and pay the damn check, but you better not try to get away with this tomorrow!" The waiter knowing all the patrons were glaring at this couple stated in a loud voice, "If you don't lower your voice I will be forced to ask you to leave and not return."
"See what you have done Charles. It is all your fault. We go through this everyday."
Getting up and trying to force a smile toward the waiter, "Come Sally, it is time to get back to work."
Arriving back at their apartment building and stepping off the elevator Sally calmly said, "Thank you Charles for a wonderful lunch. I always have so much fun when I am with you."
Bending down and pushing her long, dark hair from her face, Charles lightly kissed Sally's cheek, "I have truly enjoyed our lunch also."
Walking in separate directions Charles turned and shouted, "See you at a 11:00 in the morning."

Dan Gibson,
written, 11/17/2000

Bact to: STORIES and POETRY page