I’m standing outside of Mareina’s door in my suit because I didn’t allow myself time to change. It’s pouring, and the expensive brown loafers I bought to play dress-up in the place of work shoes are soaked thin. My suit sleeves hang like a poncho.
Why isn’t she answering? My nerves begin to swell, but then I question whether I’ve knocked yet. How could I have forgotten so fast?
Hopefully Mareina doesn’t mistake my forgetfulness with over-ambition, even if I have that too. I knock – perhaps for a second time – with my left hand because my right is full of purple Skittles – her favorite. I like them too, but I’d only let myself sneak one as I force fed myself the rest. I prefer savory over sweet.
No answer yet. Come on Mareina, I come in peace.
What has probably only been seconds feels like minutes, and the longer I wait the more my confidence dwindles, washed away like the dirt spilled over from the flower pots sitting by my feet. I start to doubt my peace offering – we aren’t five years old after all.
Before I can form my next negative thought, a tired-looking Mareina stands in the doorway. I hold out my right hand and unveil the monochrome collection of Skittles.
For a moment, she simply seems to study them. Had I mistaken a cherry for a grape? And then she lifts her milky brown eyes up to mine.
“Take your shoes off by the door,” she says and steps aside.