by Steven David Lampley
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
She woke, rolled over, the clock showed an early 8:17 am. Swinging her legs and feet out from under the bed covers to get out of bed, there were three additional knocks, louder than before and she, more irritated.
"Damn, okay, I'm coming she muttered out loud.
Standing, she grabbed her white terrycloth housecoat from across the foot of her bed and began walking - stumbling may be more correct - to her apartment door. She leaned to the door to look through the peephole to see who was outside so early when three more horribly loud knocks shattered the silence and causing her to jump back, "Damn!" she screamed.
Unlocking the door and the three additional chain locks, she opened the door and a man she knew well, the maintenance man for the downtown apartment building, was standing there.
"What the hell, Larry, why the damned banging?"
Dressed in his grey maintenance uniform, with his sewn-on patch "LARRY" above his pocket, he gave up a smirk, "Carla, the office..."
"Yeah, Larry, I know, I know, quit with the stating the damned obvious, I fully know I called. I need my light fixed."
"The work order states your bedroom light?"
"The light in the bathroom in my bedroom, Larry."
Larry reaches down and picks up his tool bag as Carla steps back out of the way so Larry can enter the apartment.
"How long's this going to take, Larry? I have a dinner date tonight."
"Dinner date? Damn Carla, where ya going to go eat? Everything's shut down cuz of this COVID stuff."
"You amaze me sometimes, Larry. He's coming here for dinner. We are eating here, I am cooking for him."
Looking at Carla shockingly, "Oh, he? He?"
Larry tilts his head slightly and, head canted, looks at Carla with a smirk, yet questioning gaze, "Romantic interest?"
"Perhaps, it's really none of your business you know."
Shaking his head in the affirmative, he looks at the floor, rubbing his neck, "Yeah, yeah, I know."
"Larry, listen, we had our time, remember?"
"I get it Carla, I get it. No need to rub it in, okay?"
Carla looked at Larry surprised, yet stoic.
"Watcha havin' to eat, if ya don't mind me askin?"
"Larry, I do mind, but what the hell. I'm cooking him a roast with potatoes, carrots, you know what ingredients I use."
"How tha hell? Carla, you know very well the butcher shops are all closed by order of the mayor, hell some of the grocery stores are also closed."
"Larry, I guess you forget, huh? You seem to have forgotten how resourceful I am."
Larry gave Carla a yes-I-should-have-known stare.
"Actually, Larry, if you must know, it's being delivered!"
"Delivered? How in the...never mind, you've always been able to make things happen."
Smiling, "Yep! Remember that time we wanted pizza and no pizza parlor in the city had pepperoni because of the recall? I got us pepperoni, right?"
"Yeah, that you did."
"Well, there you go!"
Shaking his head in agreement, he reaches down to get his tool box and starts walking down the hallway to her bedroom. About halfway down the hall, Larry hesitates, stops, and turns around to look back at Carla, "You know I never stopped loving you? Part of me always will, you know."
"Larry, listen," she shakes her head left to right, "I know that, I really do, but..."
"Okay, Carla, I get it, okay?"
Turning back around, Larry disappears into Carla's bedroom.
Carla turns and makes her way to the kitchen and gets potatoes from the pantry and the carrots from the refrigerator in anticipation of prepping both for cooking later.
As she is washing the potatoes her thoughts turn to Larry, of the time they had together and how, once upon a time, she had invited him to dinner and fixed him a roast. A slight smile wiped across her face.
Finished with the potatoes, she dries her hands and makes her way to her bedroom.
About twenty-minutes later her phone rings. It continues to ring and ring and ring, unanswered.
Another hour or so passes and Carla's phone rings again. Twenty or so rings, who ever was calling gave up.
It was perhaps another hour, maybe slightly longer, someone was knocking at her door. They must have knocked four of five different times, before Carla made her way to the door, but who ever it was, left.
It was just after 3:00 pm now, and Carla made her way back to the kitchen to begin cooking for the evening at hand.
Cutting the potatoes and carrots into bite sized pieces, she washed the roast and placed it in a pot along with her seasonings for the three hour cook.
With the meal cooking, she returns to her bedroom to begin getting ready for the evening, "Thank heavens this light is fixed," she mumbled out loud.
Routinely, over the next few hours, Carla monitored the food that was cooking. She wanted everything to be just right.
"Yes!" Carla exclaimed quietly as there was a knock on the door. It was 7:00 pm and her dinner guest was there!
She unlocked then opened the door to reveal a strikingly handsome man standing at her door, her guest for the evening.
Smiling fully, Carla was beside herself, "Hello! Good to see you. Come on in."
"You have a nice place here!"
"I like it," she stated happily.
Carla turned and went to the kitchen to finish preparing the food and putting the food on their plates as her dinner guest remained at the window, looking at the traffic some ten floors below and the lights of the downtown area.
"Quite the view you have here!"
Carla places their plates on the table then walks over toward the window taking him by the hand leading him to the meal and the much anticipated dinner with her new friend, "Let's eat, I am so, so hungry!"
He pulls the chair out for her to be seated and then goes to take his seat.
Taking a bite of the roast, he moans and looks at Carla, "This is absolutely amazing! I have never had a roast that tasted like this, it is so good, milady!"
"Thank you it tuned out really tender, I think."
"Yes, yes it did, so succulent! I must ask, how did you get a roast with the stores closed?"
"Oh, I had a friend, the maintenance man, get it for me."
"Ahh, ok. He's a good guy, huh?"
"Oh, yeah, he is very good!'
Carla looks down at her plate to the last remaining bite-sized piece of roast, taking her fork she puts the meat in her mouth and with a look of utter epiphanic pleasure, she chews ever so slowly, enjoying the flavor.