Riley sighed and pulled himself out of bed. It was a Saturday, which meant he could spend the day doing whatever he wanted and that gave him a sense of relief.
“Today is just another day,” he told himself. “It will end just like every other day before it and every other day after it.”
He began to make his way to the kitchen when he heard a knock at the front door. He thought about ignoring it; he wasn’t in the mood to speak to anyone today. But after a few seconds of reconsideration, Riley made his way to the door.
“If you want today to be like any other day, you have to treat it like that, and on any other day you would answer the door,” he quietly said to himself as he made his way to the front door.
He wasn’t quite sure who he was expecting; perhaps the mailman making an early run on deliveries or a woman who was determined to convert him into a child of God. When he opened the door and found a slender, fair-skinned woman in a powder blue dress he had determined it was the latter.
“Good morning,” she said.
Riley was a bit taken aback by the sound of her voice. The woman appeared very soft and delicate, almost fragile, as if she would fly away if the wind blew too hard. But her voice had a tone of authority to it, one that demanded to be heard.
“I was just wondering if—”
“I’m sorry ma’am; I’m not interested in God today. But my neighbor might be. Why don’t you give him a try?”
He went to close the door but the woman had wedged her shoe between the door and the frame.
“I’m sorry; I’m not quite sure what God has to do with wanting to borrow a cup of sugar. Then again, I haven’t gone to church in over a decade so my biblical knowledge might be a bit behind the times.”
Riley could feel his face becoming hot.
“I-I’m so sorry. I just assumed…I don’t get many visitors and when I do they…I’m sorry.”
The woman laughed. Her laugh was nothing like her voice. Her voice was strong and firm, but her laugh was soft and melodic and flowed effortlessly.
“It’s quite alright. I suppose I do look like someone that would spread the gospels of Christ. Unfortunately, I’m not here to offer you a path to redemption. I’m just here to take your sugar.”
Riley laughed. It had been a while since someone had made him laugh, especially another woman, and it had caught him off guard.
“Tell you what—I’ll give you a cup of sugar if you’ll give me a rain check on enlightening me about the wonders of the Lord.”
The woman smiled and Riley opened the door and motioned for her to come in. He watched as she made her way down the narrow corridor and into the kitchen. The way she walked made it appear as though she were weightless; her strides were light and swift. Her dress swayed along with the motion of her hips and her arms dangled lightly at her side. Riley was in momentary awe of how ethereal she appeared.
“How long have you lived in the neighborhood?” he asked as he began to scoop out some sugar.
The woman had situated herself at his kitchen table and gazed around.
“About eight years now. I live in the house across the street,” she answered as she settled her eyes upon the sink, which was over piled with dishes.
“That’s funny… I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you before.”
In fact, Riley had been sure of it. He would have remembered seeing a face like hers. It was, for lack of a better word, perfect. It was heart shaped with dark, almond-colored eyes and sculpted cheeks. Her hair was short and tousled and fell gracefully along her shoulders. He had never seen someone like her in his life.
The woman shrugged. “I tend to keep to myself,” was all she said.
Before Riley could ask anything else on the matter, she was in front of him. It surprised him how quickly she moved. He had hardly seen her get up from the chair and make her way across the kitchen to him. But now, as she stood only a couple of feet away from him, he felt himself overcome by a desire to reach out and touch her face, to confirm that something so beautiful was standing before him. He didn’t of course. He hardly knew her.
You don’t even know her name, he thought to himself.
“Dahlia,” the woman said.
“Huh?” Riley said.
“My name is Dahlia. I just thought you should know since I am taking your sugar.”
“Oh,” he said. “I’m Riley.”
Dahlia smiled. “Well, I should be on my way. I would hate to be a bother.”
She stretched out her hand and Riley gave her the cup of sugar. As he felt her fingers slide against his palm, he couldn’t help but notice how cold her hands were. He shivered at the touch of them. She took the cup firmly into her hands, spun around and made her way to the door. She placed her hand on the knob and paused.
“Is something wrong?” Riley inquired.
She didn’t answer. She stood there for several more seconds and then opened the door and left.
Riley hurried over to the door and pulled it open, but Dahlia was already gone. He considered going across the street to ask her if everything was alright, but instead he slowly closed the door and made his way back to his kitchen to carry on with his daily routine.
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