A short walk later, Sebastian was standing at Lana’s front door. It was still early in the morning but not obscene. The world was awake. Men and women dressed in neat business suits spilled out through the front doors of the apartments, crowding the sidewalks already with the heavy traffic of life. The streets were teeming with bicycles and taxi cabs and the already the sound of horns and frustrated shouts filled the air. Coffee cups were filled. Bagels opened and eaten. Dogs peed on hydrants. Beautiful people jogged past in stretch tees and athletic shorts, eyes focused on some unseen target ahead, ear buds jammed deep into their ears to keep them plugged into a different reality.
All around him, the noise and business of life as Sebastian stood on the stoop of Lana’s townhouse apartment and rang the bell. It was a long moment before he heard any reaction. Braced for the moment the door would swing open and they would no longer be separated by space and time, no longer separated by a plank of wood. She would open the door and they would be together.
Sebastian glanced up at the window over the door, hoping for a glimpse of Lana looking out the window to see who had arrived. The curtains did not move. Sebastian rang the bell again.
The stream of life flowing behind him felt good. It gave him courage. He was a part of this world now. He would be one of those people, going to work, walking the dog, taking a job. He was excited and eager for all of it. The taxi rides shared with Lana. The hot coffee and buttered bagels. She would open the door and they would be together and would commit themselves to doing all the things they could do when Sebastian had been a Inbetweener. They would make love. Possibly have children. Could he even give her children? They would celebrate birthdays, drink too much alcohol, eat too much cake, and mark every year as an incredibly precious success. They would commit themselves to the work of doing the one thing they could never have done before. Sebastian and Lana would grow old together.
But, first things first. Sebastian looked up. Still, she was not looking down from that high window. He rang the doorbell again, wondering if it made enough noise for her to hear if she was in the bedroom. Or she had left already for work perhaps.
Sebastian knocked, a little louder than he intended. He was getting scared a bit that she might not be home and that he might just need to wait on her steps until she came back home.
Then footsteps down the stairs. “Who is it?” she was yelling. “Do you have any idea what time it is? You better not be selling anything or inviting me to your church? I swear to God, I’ll punch you right in the face.”
And then the door opened. Lana stood there, wrapped in a bathrobe, her wet hair wrapped in a towel. Even in her anger, she was beautiful to Sebastian. And then, that look softened. Her eyes widened as she realized who was standing at her door.
“Oh, wow,” she said. “Sebastian.”
Sebastian was so happy he could not speak. He just nodded and smiled.
“Sebastian,” she said again. The surprise changing to puzzlement. Lana looked out the door, past Sebastian. She pulled the robe around her. “What are you doing here?” she asked. Then, realizing it came out way different than she intended. “I mean, where did you come from? Is everything alright? How did you get here?”
“I came to see you,” he said. “I came so we can be together. Really together.”
Lana looked up the stairs. Back out at Sebastian, smiling like a soft-headed fool. She studied him for a moment, trying to make up her mind. And then, “Come on in.”