One fall evening there was a soft knock on the door, which would have gone unnoticed or passed off as a bump in the woodwork had Feller not been trying very hard to take a nap. He opened his eyes and shouted over his shoulder, “Who is it?” But there was no reply, just another soft knock from the other side.
In a huff of indignation Feller gathered himself out of bed, and with a crouched gait he shuffled towards the caller. Upon opening the door, he was alarmed to find a young, fair-skinned woman across the threshold. She was covered in a burnt-orange trench coat and adorned with a coffee-colored hat. Feller’s disposition immediately pivoted, and he consciously addressed his strange guest with courteousness and interest.
“Hello, my dear. I am sorry I did not hear you. Getting old,” he mused. “How, then, many I help you?”
The young woman did not reply. She looked straight ahead with unflinching white eyes, as if staring right through him.
“Hello?” Feller repeated, “Hello?” He was bemused by her silence and hoped to break the awkwardness with mirth. He waved an open hand quickly in front of his face, as if teasing whether she could even see him at all. But the woman still did not respond. In fact she did not even blink. Feller now grew puzzled by his visitor’s most unprecedented departure from convention. And she just continued staring motionlessly at him.
Then an idea struck him. He surmised the woman must be both blind and deaf. The notion seemed reasonable, though at once it made him uneasy as what to do. And he could not decide. Such a normal thing, a wandering guest at his door, and yet at the same time it was entirely out of the ordinary. So, he was unsure, even paralyzed, as how to act.
They stood facing each other, she like a tree and gazing all around him; he, quizically looking her over in her brown hat. Feller found himself getting chilly in the twilight air, but in spite of the discomfort he persevered, facing her with resolve, if even out of spite, yet doing nothing.
The accountant sat in his small dimly lit apartment reviewing some figures when the telephone rang.
“Adam, is that you?” inquired an aged female voice.
“No, I’m sorry. I think you have the wrong number. What number…”
“It is you, my God, isn’t it!” she interrupted.
“No Ma’am, I’m sorry, I’m not Adam. No one by that name lives here. What number…”
“What happened to you? Where have you been?” I’ve been looking for you for…”
“Miss,” the accountant piped in, having now grown impatient, “would you mind just telling me the number you were trying to reach and maybe I could help you.”
There was a short pause.
“No, it isn’t you, is it?” Her voice echoed in a distant, resolved tone. “Please forgive me young man. Do excuse me for any trouble I have caused.”
And another pause.
“It was just…and I’m sure this will sound strange to you, but it was just that, just that for a moment, you see, I mistook you…for my son.”
This momentarily absorbed the young accountant, but the line then clicked off. The accountant sat puzzled holding the receiver. But he then saw the papers strewn out upon the desk before him, quickly recalling his duty to the calculations. So with renewed purpose, he now continued with reviewing the figures, having now shaken off any prior alarm.
The tightrope walker had diligently practiced his routine for years, and the day finally arrived when he was to make his long-awaited debut. Understandably nervous, though still radiating the dignity of a master in the craft, he carefully toed his way out upon the thin taught line, finally commencing in the over-rehearsed feat of dexterity. It had been his every determination to lift the crowd of the tented bleachers onto their feet, and into an outburst of ovation.
But about halfway across the rope his attention was broken by an unusual silence.
And when he secretly peered out at the benches, and up along the dimly glazed rows, his peripheral curiosity gave way to the more disquieting notions that the tent was, in fact, wholly vacant. Could he have confused the date of the show? It certainly couldn’t have been canceled without him first knowing! Such questions gave the tightrope walker momentary pause high above the un-netted ground, and while he flirted with other, even more, menacing feelings, his bowed legs slightly teetered beneath him. A faint syncopated buzz echoed from above, and when he craned his neck back he could see the trapped flies tapping through the hollow light fixture hanging from the tent’s uppermost roof.
In spite of his disturbance, the tightrope walker managed to regain composure and manipulate himself back to the safety of the platform. There he would have to wait, but that was of no matter, for he was once again self-possessed, and standing freely upon solid ground, playing out the performance in his head.