Tony tossed in his bed, was that three times he heard a tap on the floor, or was he just dreaming. The girl was sending him crazy, he couldn’t think straight, he couldn’t eat and sleeping, well that was just about impossible. He just needed some kind of indication of how she felt. Many times he had heard the music playing from the floor below and he could sense her swaying to the music. He imagined her body, rhythmically swaying to the soulful beat, her body undulating to the timing of the music. It made his heart flutter. He needed to ask her the question but he was scared of the answer. The image of her long flowing brunette hair dancing around her flat.
He had sent her a message, one Sunday afternoon, he had waited until she had gone out. He crept up the stairs and carefully slid the note under her door. He quietly crept back downstairs and awaited her return. He hadn’t had long to wait, an hour maybe. He heard the familiar click of her front door, the layout of her flat the same as his, so he could imagine her picking up the letter, maybe popping into the tiny kitchen to put the kettle on, before sitting down to read the note. He sat patiently waiting, nothing. No sound what so ever, had she read it? Was she not interested? Did she even know who he was, that he existed? He had no idea, but he hoped. He had been living above her flat for the past six months, they had barely spoken, the odd, ‘Good morning’, ‘Lovely weather today’, but that was it. He longed to talk to her but he had no idea how to break the ice.
Then he had the idea to send her a note. He told her to knock on the ceiling if she wanted him but to tap on the radiator if the answer was no. He had heard nothing, what did that mean? The suspense was killing him. If she didn’t like him surely she would tap on the radiator but then again if she did she would tap on the ceiling. It was no good he was going to have to go down and speak to her. Are he though, wasn’t that the whole point of the letter, to save the confrontation. His throat felt dry and his tongue rough with anticipation, he had this irresistible urge to urinate, stress always got him that way. Had he missed the knock, his plan wasn’t exactly fool proof. With a big sigh and a deep breath he opened the door to his flat and then proceeded to shut it again as he could hear someone on the stairs. Could it be her, was she coming down to see him? He ran to the window to check, there was no one there. The banging on the stairs seemed to be more distant now so he decided to make a break for it. He could cower in his flat but where would that get him. Boldly opening the door he ran up the stairs before he lost his nerve. Banging on the door with as much conviction as he could muster.
The inhabitant responded, swinging open the door with an element of surprise.
“Hi, can I help you? You’re from downstairs aren’t you? She asked quizzically. Although she smiled she seemed oblivious to the reason he was standing there.
“Yes I’m Tony.”
“Pleased to meet you Tony.” She still stood there unresponsive, looking like she was waiting for him to respond. An awkward silence ensued, her wondering why he was calling, him wondering why she wasn’t responding. Someone had to speak and as Tony had gone to her it fell on him.
“Did you get my note?” He mumbled, searching her face for her answer ahead of her opening her mouth. She looked puzzled.
“The one I put under your door earlier.” She reached over to the telephone stand beside the door and picked up a piece of paper.
“This piece of paper?” Tony studied it.
“Yes, that’s it.”
“Ah, it was you, I though it strange as you didn’t put your name on it and you put bang on the ceiling so I thought it was from Mr Jones upstairs. Now it makes sense.” Tony felt very foolish.
“Just out of interest what would you’re response have been?” Tony inquired boldly.
Coyly Maxine looked down then shyly looked up at Tony and stamped her feet on the floor. They both looked at each other and smiled. He had his answer.
Photo by Asher Legg on Unsplash
2 thoughts on “Knock Three Times”
A wickedly wonderful story, full of rhythm, like the song. Writing in short sentences with lots of punctuation has made it an irresistable read with its heartbeat flow. I can feel the anticipation, the longing, the nervous disposition of the protagonist and the contrastingingly cool, calm nature of Maxine in this racy piece of writing. A quality piece of work, Tina, and a great read.
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Thanks Mary. X