His fingers tapped against the flat black keyboard, the clank of each key drilling in his ears chiming the same monotonous tone they had for the past 5 years. He faltered for a moment, not even a second, almost allowing his mind to wander but instead quickly returned to his belligerent tapping on the keyboard. He tapped away, the grey edges of his loosely fitted suit rubbing on the edge of the meticulously carved wood desk with each movement of his hands. He rarely moved from his desk, maybe to grab himself a coffee midday, making sure to only get up when no one else was around the pot, his eyes not straying away from the floor when he gets up like they rarely distance themselves from the screen for the remainder of his day.
That is until that Thursday afternoon. It wasn’t a particularly special day. The dead brown leaves fell from the trees outside of his normal and white apartment building, he hailed a taxi just outside the door and made small talk with the driver, tipped him a normal amount and by the revolving grey door, making his way up to his office to sit on his slightly padded grey chair. The seat made a small squeak as he settled in it to begin his days’ work. It was an ordinary day, not unlike any other. Of course, it was until she walked in.
He looked up from his screen for the first time in years when she entered. His cubicle was not far from the entrance, but also not particularly near it. She was standing about 25 paces from where he was sitting now, her black kitten heals set firmly against the white speckled linoleum floor. His eyes traced up her legs, up to her emerald green skirt and matching blazer, tailored perfectly to the contours of her body. The green blazer accentuated by the red blouse encased beneath it, the high collar modestly forcing his eyes to her face. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman he had ever seen but something about her had captivated him- her chestnut brown eyes were somewhat wide-set, showcasing her round, long, button nose which cascaded down to her thin lips, her flushed cheeks now displaying the uneven freckles that lined them. Before he could discover what it was about this mundane woman that made him so entranced, the sound of her heels brought him crashing back down to his reality. She walked past his desk, not even looking down for a moment to acknowledge his starstruck presence. As she strolled past him the scent of fresh citrus floated in the air; he closed his eyes and inhaled the scent.
He didn’t tap on his keyboard for the next hour, he couldn’t bring his hands to obey their mundane daily practice. He did not have a single thought that was not of her until she emerged from the doors she had entered the hour prior. He stared over at her once again. She was tall and thin but she exuded a power that he longed for. He felt implicitly that the power that she held within her pinky finger was more than he had in his entire body and that is when he knew- but he was not entirely sure what it was he knew. He suddenly stood up from his desk, not tracing the floor this time but rather fixing his gaze on her as she held her head up gracefully while surveying the room. Her eyes finally landed on the young man strutting towards her and she twisted her mouth into a knowing smile and reached for a small paper she had in the tight pocket of her blazer and as he opened his mouth to speak she gestured her finger over her mouth, beckoning him to remain silent as her other hand offered him the small piece of paper which he now recognized to be her business card. He gaped, his mouth open at her forwardness but before he could speak to her, she had walked away from him swiftly and left the office completely, leaving nothing behind but the small business card he held and the cascading scent of citrus in her wake. He moved back towards his desk, ignoring the questioning stares he was getting from his coworkers as he examined her card which still smelled faintly like her: Adira Clemens, Boyle and Roth LTD.. A lawyer. He examined it once more before searching her name on his computer, each leaden tap on the keyboard requiring an inhalation of his breath. She was partner at her law firm, rated as one of the top lawyers in the country, top of every list he was directed to- a most incredible woman by any measure, quite possibly the most incredible he had ever met.
He didn’t get much work done for the remainder of the day and, as soon as the clock struck 5pm precisely, he gathered his clean brown leather briefcase and hastily left the office, leaving loose papers on his desk and his chair untucked in the centre of the office- something that he had never done before. He stepped lively in his plain black shoes, each click bringing him closer to his home, closer to his telephone, closer to her. He swung open the doors to his apartment building above the old market and moved quickly up the old rotten wood floors to his small studio on the third floor, he didn’t bother to lock the door, but rather flung his shoes off as he bolted towards the small brown couch near the window. He sat for a moment, reviewing her card once more, muttering her phone number over and over until his legs, unknown to his conscious brain, had jolted him towards the black wall phone near the kitchen sink which he then grabbed with purpose before slowly returning his gaze to the card, shaking in his hand. After a moment the numbers swimming on the card cleared and he entered them into the phone. With each ringing tone, his breath became faster and his body trembled more until she answered. He barely spoke before she had already set a date for them to meet: coffee, Saturday morning at the small teal coffee shop on the corner.
As Saturday morning approached he became nervous; why would she want to meet with me? I’m a mere flea compared to her. What should I wear? He stopped at this last thought, for the past 5 years of his life he had not once wondered what he should wear, he simply put on one of his two ill-fitting suits and one of his mundane ties and left the house, never giving a second thought to how he should dress- not for a woman, or an important meeting or even a holiday. However, this time he considered it; for her, he considered it. And so, he went out and purchased a new jacket, slacks, and undershirt all tailored to fit him perfectly for Saturday.
When the morning had approached he awoke 2 hours early, ironed his new suit, slicked back his hair neatly and perfectly with a fine-tooth comb, brushed his teeth vigorously not once but twice before placing on the perfect suit, fastening on his newly shined loafers and heading out the door of his dingy old apartment. He floated out of his building and down the street towards the cheery coffee shop that he now realized he had passed every morning, but had never before noticed.
He stood on the street nervously searching for the woman he was supposed to meet. Once 15 minutes had passed and there was no sign of her, he dejectedly turned away from the bright shop and moved back towards his disheveled apartment building, not looking back for fear of wondering what could have been.
And so he left the teal building, the welcoming door, the strong smell of coffee intermingled with the soft scent of citrus, the warm wood tables, the rounded coffee cups and the enchanting young woman, in her tailored red dress sitting alone inside with two small coffees and a fading yet still hopeful smile on her face, all alone.