Locked out

by aditimittal

I called my roommate:

“Hi Christa! It’s me…Could you….”

“UHHHH! Aditi, you’ll have to wait a few minutes though, I just put the sauce on the stove. You better remember to carry your keys next time, I’m not going to let you in again!”

“Oh Oh! I’ll wait, sorry….thank you”

Summer is on its way out and foolishly ignoring that, I stepped out this morning in a sleeveless dress. I shiver silently, turning back down to “Slouching toward Bethlehem” that I had been reading on my walk over.

I hear the sound of scraping shoes on the asphalt behind. A pair of black sneakers step into the periphery of my vision. She has shoulder length blond hair that off-sets the far-too-orange-to-be-real tanned skin; a grey t-shirt that screams “Penn State Field hockey”, sweat pants that reach down to the calf, a black back pack and in her hands is a set of jangling car keys that hang on navy blue thread which confirms her college.

She looks at me quickly, smiles and looks away. I do the same, though not looking away completely.

“Do you live here?”
“Yes, I forgot my keys though, so I can’t really get in”
“Oh!”

It’s a Saturday evening, so it’s very quiet, and I wish someone would come by to let both of us in. The temperature seems to drop even further. She looks out straight into the glass doors, longing to be standing in the warmth of the lobby instead of outside with a weird girl who has a funny accent and seems to be stealing furtive glances at her. Her boyfriend, brother, sister or friend is taking much too long to open the door, and really, she didn’t drive down 6 hours to stand outside in the cold.

She suddenly remembers something, and whips her cell phone out of her pocket, flips it open, presses one of the glossy buttons twice and proceeds to hear someone’s caller tune. I try to tune out.

She steps back and begins to pace, phone still glued to her ear, and I pretend to turn back to my book. Absent mindedly she plays with the keys. She spins them around, and the thread insidiously wraps itself around her stubby hands, instantly making white lines, blocking off the circulation where it touches them. Once, and then backwards and the color rushes back into the white lines. Repeat as desired. The person she is calling has decided to not pick up and she slaps the phone close, too impatient to take advantage of the boon that is voicemail.

I hear a door open and close inside and I look up to Christa walking towards the door. Penn State Field hockey walks into the now opened door and brushes past Christa without a word. I enter, smiling at Christa sheepishly. She smiles back at me impatiently and indulgently. The object of my observation walks away in a huff into the north wing of the building making me feel like I did something wrong or stupid.

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