At least, I had been ready. That morning.
Now that evening, I was sick with anxiety.
I’d spent the day cleaning my apartment, getting a much needed, much resented manicure, and drinking an exorbitant amount of coffee to keep me going. I was too nervous to eat but by 9pm, I was becoming dizzy from lack of nourishment and excessive caffeine, so I shoveled in a handful of Fritos.
Of course, that was when the downstairs buzzer went off.
I knew from experience that I had about 50 seconds, give or take, from when that sound rang through my apartment, to when someone would be at my door. That didn’t give me a lot of time.
I choked down the Fritos and then hurriedly sprayed air-freshener throughout the room, having chained-smoked for the past 30 minutes as a result of my taught nerves. I dove for the pack of gum in my purse, ripped out a piece and chewed it frantically. I then spit it out in the trash as I didn’t want to have gum in my mouth.
I looked myself over in the mirror. I was wearing a black sweater, black jeans and black boots. I shook my head. I should be wearing color! That’s what Sheri had instructed. How could I have forgotten?? Should I change??
I moved toward the closet but the knock at the door told me I was too late.
Smoothing my hands over my sweater, I took a raggedy breath as I stepped to the door. I opened it slowly.
“Hi,” I breathed. I gripped the doorknob tightly so my hand wouldn’t shake. My other hand shot to my hair involuntarily and twirled a lock between my fingers.
“Come in,” I said and opened the door all the way. I stepped back to make more room.
“Um…,” I said. “So…welcome to New York.”
“Thank you,” he said. He moved to the center of the room and shrugged off his duffel bag.
I shut the door behind us. Then I turned to face him and chewed my lip nervously. He looked at me briefly and then stepped towards me.
“Hi,” I said again.
“Hi.” He then put his arms around me and pulled me into a tight hug.
And then I didn’t know what to say.
Because see, it was My Ex.