“Cam? You there?” Anna’s soft, familiar voice came through the vent as Cameron made himself comfortable in bed; she must have heard the rustling.
“Yeah. Morning, Anna,” he replied. It was 10 p.m. but she always seemed to be stirring as he was getting into bed, he assumed she worked night shift somewhere. Their conversations over the past two weeks never revealed more than their names, hobbies, and favorite foods. He never felt comfortable enough to ask about her work and she never asked about his. Telling her he was a self-made millionaire unbidden seemed like bragging to him.
“Morning!” she replied with an extra chipper voice. He figured it was easy to be a morning person if your morning started after sunset. “Hey, what are you doing later today?” she asked.
“Today’s over for me, I’m hitting the hay,” Cam said. After he replied he realized she might be trying to ask him out and regretted the almost dismissive answer.
“Well, I’ve still gotta put in my eight hours anyway, I was thinking after that we should give meeting a try. I’m gonna go see a roller-derby match, wanna come with?” she asked. Cameron quickly decided that he could take the next day off to have breakfast with her. He’d never heard of a morning roller-derby match, but he did not know much about the sport, to begin with.
“Yeah, I’d like that,” he said. “What time does it start?”
“Great! Starts at nine. Meet in the lobby at 8?”
“Perfect. Have a great shift,” Cameron wished her well for the day.
“Thanks! Sweet dreams,” she said. Then, Cameron heard her leave the bed. He set an alarm, rolled over and went to sleep.
At 7:55a.m. Cameron stood in the lobby holding a small houseplant in a pink pot. Through their conversations, he learned that she loved houseplants. She often named them and sometimes she would talk to Cameron like each one had its own personality. At 8:10a.m. He sat down on the single uncomfortable, metal bench and wondered if he should have asked for her number. At 9:15a.m. Cameron returned to his apartment feeling a bit dejected. He set the potted plant down on the kitchen counter then decided to lay down for a while.
He did not realize how much he was looking forward to meeting her until he didn’t. Cameron did not get depressed often; but, when he did he liked to sleep it off. Since he took the day off anyway he saw no harm in climbing back into bed for a while. As the bed jostled under him he heard a soft sniffle coming through the vent.
“Anna?” He asked. Several silent seconds passed, then she replied.
“What do you want?” she asked in a hurt tone.
“Why weren’t you in the lobby?” Cameron asked.
“I WAS!” she yelled through the vent. “Sorry,” she replied quickly. “But I was. I waited an hour for you.”
“I was there too! I didn’t see anyone else though.” Cameron explained. “I thought you stood me up.”
“Me too,” she replied. Her voice seemed to be a bit more cheerful and interested.
“Forget the lobby. What apartment are you in? I’ll just go knock there.”
“Okay!” she said. “I’m in 36D.”
“What?” Cameron asked. “Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I’ve lived here for like eight years.”
“Anna, are you lying? This complex only has 20 floors. And it’s only been here for three years.” Anna let out a growl of displeasure and frustration.
“Are you kidding me right now? What time is it there?” She asked.
“Uh, bout 9:22.”
“A.m. or p.m.?” she asked. Cameron chuckled.
“Well look out the window.”
“A.M. or P.M?!” she asked again with a sharp edge in her voice.
“A.m. why?” Cameron heard another gravelly, guttural sound of annoyance and several dull thuds. He imagined her punching the bed in anger. “You okay?”
“Yeah, sorry,” she replied after a bit. “It’s just so annoying.”
“I finally find a nice guy I want to meet and he lives in another freaking universe!”