Shower, dress, emerge into the living room to find outdoor furniture sitting inside the living room. A man is on my balcony, right by the open door, industriously rolling stain on the wood.
“Hello there,” I say, as if he was out there every morning. He smiles and hellos back, goes on with his rolling. Hello there, I say in my head, Isn’t it lucky I didn’t wander out here naked? Because you know, I do that sometimes in my own home. Make a quick dash out here without getting dressed. Because, gosh, I don’t expect there to be a man on my third story balcony. Now wouldn’t that just have been too funny? If I’d decided to do that this morning with you out there working away? Wouldn’t be both have been surprised?”
”I was wondering when someone was going to do that,” I tell him out loud, “They sent a note around saying we’d be advised the day before so we could clear our balconies.” He pushes the roller back and forth.
“Uh-huh” he grunts.
At work, I’ve hired five new students in four days and constructed a training schedule that is a veritable house of cards…one piece moves by a hair and the whole thing collapses. Meanwhile the library system and its backup have been murdered by a power outage and are still dead after a week. My pre-term stress levels are threatening to overflow the sanity wall.
But today, nothing is going to diminish the joyful prospect of a four day weekend for me. Certainly not an unexpected male person appearing on my balcony. I sit down to put my makeup on. It’s that kind of day. I feel like looking nice for myself. The plan, after lipstick and eyeliner, is to attend to a large basket of laundry I’ve been collecting during a spell of weather so hot that being in the vicinity of a dryer might have been life-endangering.
“I was going to drop over,” he says.
“Um,” I say, eyeing the walloping basket of laundry, “you figured out I wasn’t at work, huh?” Duh.
“You told me you weren’t working today.”
“Yeah. Is it ok? I mean, are you busy?” I walk the phone into another room.
I was about to do laundry but that’ll wait, only there’s a guy on my balcony.”
He decides to wait for an hour and give my new roommate time to finish.
– The kitchen. Spread out on the bread board: organic peanut butter, blackberry jam, banana, whole wheat bread. The oddest thing happens. At the precise moment that I drop the bread into the toaster slots, I become absolutely present. I am thinking, with delight not called for by such a simple, mundane act, This is my old toaster. This is my bread. This is my afternoon, my life, my peanut butter sandwich. The dandelions have departed. There is a cool breeze blowing through the balcony door. A pearly white overcast sky outside. The laundry is slooshing around in washing machines downstairs. I fit perfectly in my own skin.
And off-topic. For those of you who enjoyed the conversation about relationship and monogamy, I refer you to a wonderful response piece at Yottabite, Contracts and Negotiations.