We had fallen into a routine of morning coffee and newspaper. I no longer questioned her presence in my apartment and my life. She was a part of my existence now. She was filling a piece of a large hole in my life. What piece, I did not know.
I heard her shuffling to the bathroom as I sipped my coffee and opened the paper to the Arts and Entertainment section. Something I saw gave me an idea.
“Amy?” I called out. There was no answer. I walked toward the hallway and called again, “Amy?”
“Please don’t,” she said softly and sullenly from behind the door.
“Talk to me while I’m taking a shit.”
“Oh. Sorry. There’s just something–”
“And yet you’re still talking.”
I supposed that my idea could wait a few minutes. I sat down again and studied the paper. I pulled out my phone to see what my evening was like. Nothing planned–as if I ever had anything planned.
The toilet flushed. She shuffled into the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee. She was wearing an old pajama shirt she had likely stolen from me days ago. I didn’t mind. I was glad to have someone around.
She pulled up a chair and sat down. I watched her as she sipped, hoping to assess her mood. She set her mug down and looked back at me. Her brown eyes boring into me as if she knew my ugliest secrets.
“What are you staring at?” she asked.
“Nothing,” I said. “Are you mad at me?”
“Please don’t do that.”
“Do what?” I said, taking a sip, which was no longer hot enough for my taste.
“Be a little bitch. ”
“I’m sorry, you just seem a little grumpy this morning.”
“I don’t want to play the feelings game with you. I don’t need you in my business.”
“Amy. You just took a rather stinky shit in my bathroom. I think I’m already in your business. What did you eat anyway? Smells like you tore into a case of Vienna Sausages.”
“See! This is what I fucking mean! I don’t want to fucking be like this with you!”
“Look, Amy….forget about it. Let’s start over.” I remembered my idea. “I want you to do something after work today–and don’t take too long about it. We’re on a schedule.”
“What, am I doing your laundry now?” she said, leaning back into her chair.
“No, you’re buying a dress.” I pulled out my wallet to find my credit card. “Puh! Great. No credit card.”
“Don’t sweat it, old man. I swiped it to get milk last night.”
“Oh. Ok, whatever. Use the card. Something nice. Let’s say, $300 max.”
“Fuck! $300? What is this for?” she said, choking on her coffee a little bit.
“Oh, and some shoes. How much do women’s shoes cost? Never mind, doesn’t matter. It’s a surprise. You’ll be having a new experience tonight, and it would be a good opportunity for us to clean up.”
“And you think I’m going to like this?” she said, crossing her arms on the table and raising her eyebrows at me.