As soon as Lydia saw that the elevator was occupied she stopped singing. The dogs barked at each other throughout the ride down to the lobby. Ike and Groucho seemed to hit it off and as the doors opened – they each began jumping in tandem.
“Its a good thing they are both males – otherwise we would need to get a priest to marry them.” Anthony said and Lydia let out a short laugh.
They walked together out the front door, the dogs leading them towards the same direction.
“What is your name?” Anthony asked.
“What a beautiful name.”
She blushed, fought back a smile and looked at the ground.
“Thank you, and what is your name?”
“Anthony – not such a beautiful name.”
“That’s not true – it is a handsome name.”
They walked in silence both betraying a sense of excitement by smiling as they watched Ike and Groucho leading the way.
“Groucho, stop it.” Lydia called out as Groucho began to bark as a little child walked past them.
“Groucho? I thought my naming Ike was strange.” They both laughed.
Lydia closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
“I wish this weather could last…its been a long winter.”
“I know – if it weren’t for Ike I probably wouldn’t even leave the apartment. I lost my wife a little over a year ago…” He said his voice trailing off.
“I am sorry. My husband passed five years ago, on my birthday actually. So its five years ago yesterday.”
“Oh I am sorry…I dont know whether to wish you a happy birthday or …”
“Oh its fine…it was actually the best gift he ever gave me, my freedom. Although freedom does come with a lot of chains and locked doors.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Sorry – I meant that the freedom I craved for is nice – but it can get kind of-.” She caught herself. “Its nothing. I have to go now, sorry. Come on Groucho.”
“Was it something I said – I didnt mean to pry-“
“Its just too quick too soon I dont even know you and here I am confessing my personal sins…”
“How about we get to know each other – would you like to get coffee tomorrow morning?”
“I dont know…I cant…I have a lot of things to do tomorrow…”
“OK I understand – well, if you ever want to talk or have a walking companion…I am in apartment 5D.”
She walked away with Groucho barking in protestation. She was shaking and felt it would be inappropriate to give him her cell number. She smiled, she meant to say apartment number. She had been calling it a jail cell since Theodore passed away – feeling as if she was doing time for some sin she must have made somewhere, sometime to someone but she could not recall…
When the door closed to her apartment it would echo down the hall and give her a chilling reminder of her being in some sort of solitary confinement.
She had her friends but they were busy with their lives; husbands, jobs, grandchildren…she didn’t have a job, didnt need one and wasnt really sure what she would be able to do anyway. These days it was all computers – she wouldn’t know how to even turn one on if her life depended on it.
Anthony walked away and then turned to watch as Lydia, “What a pretty name for such a beautiful lady.” He thought to himself. What right does he have to be thinking such thoughts. “I will go to Father Fletcher tomorrow and confess my sin.” What sin? He thought again. Speaking to another lady who for some reason he felt an awakening with? He was feeling a surge of energy, like a school boy when the first glance of love is caught. He kept picturing her and feeling her presence- but it kept slipping away…