It was almost one-thirty in the morning when I heard my phone buzz on the nightstand. I grabbed it and saw it was a text from Iris.
“Are you up?” the message said.
“I’m up,” I wrote back.
“Can I call you in 10 minutes?”
“Sure,” I typed.
It was more like twenty when she finally called.
“I’m so sorry if I woke you,” she said as soon as I answered, and I noticed her voice sounded a bit different.
“No, it’s fine. I couldn’t sleep anyway,” I said, which was true.
“I’m almost done here, and I was wondering if I could come over after I get off work.”
“Yeah, of course,” I said, even though I was nervous about having her see where I lived.
“Wait, should you be driving?” I asked.
“Don’t worry, I’m fine,” she said. “Just text me your address, and I’ll text you when I leave.”
After we hung up, I got out of bed and tidied the place up a little. Then I changed and made sure I was presentable. When I got her text saying she was on her way I headed downstairs to wait for her outside. It was almost a quarter after two. And it was a little chilly outside but it felt good taking a deep breath. Then I saw Iris’s car slowing down so I walked up to her window.
“Where should I park?” she asked, a big smile on her face.
“How about right there across the street.”
I watched as she made a quick U-turn and then parallel parked. She was a good driver. Then I watched as she got out and crossed the street towards me.
“I’m sorry I don’t live in the greatest area,” I said as she reached me and gave me a big hug.
“Don’t worry about it, it’s fine,” she said.
Iris looked happy, maybe even slightly buzzed, but she wasn’t drunk.
In the elevator on the way up, we were quiet.
“Don’t expect much,” I said as I opened my door.
“Make yourself at home.”
I went to the fridge and grabbed two beers and opened them.
“I like it. It’s homey,” she said, as I handed her a beer.
Then as if she was unable to stand still, Iris slowly walked around. There wasn’t much for her to look at, but she seemed to be curious about everything. She stopped at my balcony to see what the view was like. Having someone else in my apartment was strange enough to begin with, but that it was Iris made it all the more surreal. Eventually she stopped at my desk. She saw the copy of The Savage Detectives and picked it up.
“Are you reading this?” she asked. Then I remembered what I had forgotten to tell her at the museum.
“I am, but there’s something I want to show you,” I said, and walked towards her.
“You said he’s one of your favorite writers so I went to the library on Thursday and this was the only book of his they had.”
I flipped the book open and found what I was looking for.
“You see this entry dated November 18, that’s my birthday,” I said. Then I pointed at the name at the end of the third sentence.
“Epifanio,” I said. “Does that make you think of anything?”
Iris shook her head, confused.
“Well, when I read that something clicked inside my head, and then I realized what it was, and it was just like you described in your story,” I said. “Like an epiphany.”
I was disappointed she didn’t remember, but then I pulled her story out of the drawer and handed it to her.
“What’s this?” she asked.
“Just take a look,” I said.
As she started reading I could see her eyes growing wide. Then Iris looked at me and her mouth opened.
“I can’t believe you still have this!” she said.
I smiled. Then I told her about how I used to read it every couple of months back when I was still in junior high school.
“I had this fantasy that if I ever figured out the girl’s name, you would suddenly reappear in my life, but I never did, and you never did, and it’s just been sitting in one of my old yearbooks ever since. Then the other night, when I read that name in this book it all came to me. The girl’s name is Epiphany, right?”
Iris nodded, and as she stared at me in disbelief, I leaned over and kissed her for the first time. Then she kissed me back until Iris suddenly pulled herself away. I opened my eyes and she was standing there with her eyes still closed, her hands up, and she was trembling. Finally she opened her eyes and said, “Simon, I really like you, but I want us to take things slow. Is that okay?”
“Yes, of course,” I said.
2 of 2 reviewers say it's worth paying for
0 of 2 reviewers say it's not worth paying for