Ok, so I just had a weird morning.
I woke up late. I hadn’t slept well. I bet you can guess why.
I fumbled around with the coffee maker for five minutes. My groggy mind was too preoccupied with the mystery box. Eventually, somehow, the coffee maker started huffing and puffing. I hoped I had actually ground the beans.
Then there was a knock on my door.
I froze. I even stopped breathing for a moment. A thought flashed through my mind: it was the lanky man from the cafe, here to slit my throat or something like that.
Whoever it was knocked again, a light rap-rapping.
I swallowed and worked up enough courage to cross my apartment and peer through the peephole.
A woman—a young woman—stood in the hall. She was cute enough that I opened the door. The chain kept me from opening it all the way.
“Can I help you?” I asked, unsure of what I wanted the answer to be. Maybe she was an unusually attractive Jehovah’s Witness or a grownup Girl Scout selling cookies.
The girl smiled all of a sudden. Her face before had been rather hard and mysterious. Her smile was nice. Her teeth were very white. Her cheeks dimpled. A wave of dark hair covered one of her sparkling blue eyes.
“Hello! I am new neighbor. My phone charger broke, and now phone is dead. Can I maybe borrow your charger for a minute?” She spoke with an accent I couldn’t place. Russian?…or maybe French. Ah, I’m terrible with accents.
I knew someone had just moved into the apartment across the hall. I’d never seen the new tenant until now. I liked what I saw.
“I only take a minute!” She said helpfully. She held up her dead phone as proof of her words.
I stood there and chewed on my lower lip. I was so weirded out by yesterday, I thought maybe she was part of it. Or, she really just could be my neighbor with a busted charger cord. Something about her voice echoed in my head. After thinking over it a moment more, it seemed to me a great idea to let her into my apartment. I only wish I could’ve cleaned up a little first.
“Why not? Come on in,” I shrugged.
I undid the latch and let her in. She beamed at me in gratitude. She looked over my small apartment with her shining eye. She seemed to approve of my place.
“Want anything?” I asked, “I have juice, coffee, tea—the water here is excellent.”
She smiled again, “No thank you!”
I walked over to my desk. Except for the kitchen and bedroom, the apartment was a loft split by a half wall. The low ceiling made the place claustrophobic and cave-like. I liked it.
As I bent down to get my charger, the girl spoke. She asked me how long I’d been here, was I from Boston originally, stuff like that. The she said.
“Has place ever mismatched mail before?”
“Huh,” I said as I pawed through a drawer. “What do you mean?”
“I was expecting package soon. Did you get it instead?”
Something in the way she said it made me freeze. Maybe I was imagining it, but I swore at that moment she and I both knew exactly what package she was talking about. I found the charger and stood up. As I handed it to her, I glanced to the coffee table. Fortunately, the half wall blocked it from view. I edged around the girl to the end of the half wall and put my back to the coffee table.
“Uh, no I don’t think I’ve ever had my mail go to the wrong person here. And I can’t recall a package. Now I would love to chat more, but I have a meeting I need to get to. I hope you understand.”
She looked a little upset, “Oh, ok. What about your charger?”
“Keep it: I have a spare.”
“Thank you! If you see package, will you tell me? I have been really expecting it.”
As she walked to the door, her single, glittering eye swept my apartment. She was looking for it, I knew it then. When her head was turned, I reached behind me and slid the package behind the sofa. I stood up straight when she looked back at me.
I walked after her, said good-bye, promised to look for her package, and slammed the door behind her. I redid the chain.
What the hell is going on?