He called the young lady at 11pm, so his wife would not hear his phone call.
She was asleep, dreaming of a different life.
The message asked if she could stop by at 9am.
The young lady awoke. It was her birthday. 27 years old and stuck. A scorpio with a heart of gold and a temper.
Sensitive. Moody. Jealous. Passionate.
She called him back. "Yes, I can come over. See you soon"
She walked the four blocks in the crisp, cool morning.
She arrived at his house at 8:58am. Punctuality was her strongest trait.
He opened the door, smiled widely and said, "Good morning" and greeted her.
She smiled back, hesitantly. He was almost a stranger. Those eyes, so intense and peering, unnerved her. But she needed to be there.
She walked in slowly and carefully, assessing the house and feeling the discomfort all over again.
So many feelings washing over her.
There was a moment where they acted like nothing happened.
He gave her orders and she followed.
She started by cleaning the dishes. Old espresso cups, crumby plates and stained forks.
She stayed silent while washing. His presence was there, watching over her.
After the dishes, he complained about the tub.
"The tub is not clean. Maybe to your standards, but surely not mine".
Her stomach sank. Tied in knots.
She muttered an apology, half out of pain and half out of shock.
She went to his room to put away his clothes.
"Remember, don't put away socks that don't have a match. I have no use for single socks"
She saw his shirts with the names of all the exotic cities he had been to.
The picture frames of his wife, and four lovely kids were placed all over the room.
What an intimate little venture.
She thought about what his life was like before. What his life was like now.
What did he do? He was like her, but he had the power.
Money can buy you anything.
She moved to the bathroom to deal with the dirty laundry. His stained underwear and sweaty shirts disgusted her. All in a day's work.
After getting lost in the maze of the house and dizzy with the work, she became numb.
No one knew it was her birthday. It was as if she were hiding a secret from the world. To keep inside of her everything-- to share with no one. She wanted to be alone.
Instead she was cleaning his house. He complained some more. Things were not good enough.
Her OCD which had been a source of amusement for all her friends, was not enough to please him.
He was no longer happy with her. With a look in her eyes, tearing up at the non-existent future she saw for herself, she uttered with all her might, the words that barely came:
"I don't think I'm right for you"
She got her money. $40. He wanted 5 bucks in change, but she lied and said she didn't have any money. She thought to herself, "what a fucking cheapskate"
As she left his building, the avalanche of emotions caved in on her. The tears were unstoppable. She walked home, past the stay at home moms and the dog walkers. Picking up some vodka on her way home, she decided to create her own birthday party.
To celebrate what, who knows.
The day was drawn out, in long intervals, interspersed with waiting and watching.
The sigh of relief came, once the clock turned 12.
The birthday party was over.