Sequence of Sixteen Events


First, he confesses to himself that it’s wrong

He would pray, but doesn’t know which God he should pray to

He knows they would all consider him sinful

Second, he makes himself a Glazed Chicken Lean Cuisine

He finds the sweetness of the glaze comforting

He makes and eats a second one

Third, he watches four episodes of Northern Exposure on TV

He’s always considered the show a romantic comedy

He likes it anyway

Fourth, he turns off the TV and closes his eyes

He still hears the Northern Exposure theme music in his head

He sees only the reddish black inside of his own eyelids

Fifth, he listens for her to arrive home, in the apartment across the hall

He listens

He listens

Sixth, he hears her get home at close to eleven

His heart is beating very fast

He breathes deeply to calm himself

Seventh, he waits several minutes for her to put her things down

He imagines her opening a letter from a friend living in Europe

He wonders how she will react when she realizes what’s happening

Eighth, he stands up from the couch

He stretches his middle-aged legs

He thinks she must be younger than him, but not by much

Ninth, he walks to the closet to get something

He bought it the day he took her picture as she left the building

He bought it the day he decided that he needed to do this

Tenth, he walks to his front-door

He opens it and walks into the hall

He looks both ways to make sure no one else is there

Eleventh, he knocks on her door

He is careful about how loudly he knocks

He wants it to be loud enough for her to hear, but not loud enough to startle her

Twelfth, he hears her come to the door

He admires the sound of her voice when she asks who it is

He says it’s her neighbor from across the hall

Thirteenth, he wonders if she will open the door

He thinks she must be looking through the peep hole

He waits

Fourteenth, he hears her unlock the deadbolt

He feels his heart begin to race again

He wipes several beads of sweat from his forehead

Fifteenth, she opens the door

Sixteenth, he …