Penny’s binoculars are heavy this morning. She lifts them to her eyes as her wrists creak in protest. The plush leather couches encircling the pedestal in the middle of the tailor’s shop across the street look even more inviting this morning than on mornings past, and her achy bones signal a storm is coming. Before she can ponder this, the tailor appears.
He slides his key into the lock, and Penny watches as he checks over his shoulder. First right, then left. He never looks up. He never sees her. And, just like every other morning, when he sees the coast is clear, he turns the key, opens the door, steps inside, and turns the sign on the door from closed to open. She makes a mark in her notebook.
Her tea kettle whistles. The tailor’s first appointment isn’t due for another few minutes, so Penny sets her binoculars down and shuffles toward the kitchen. She pulls some honey out of her Lazy Susan and shakes the last drop free. She’ll call Betty downstairs and see if she’ll send some up in the dumbwaiter. She sighs, Betty’s protests already echoing in her ears. “I hate that pulley system, Penny. You could just come shopping with me. You need to get out of that apartment.”
No, she needed to stay in the apartment.
Her steaming mug between her hands, she resumes her post, falling into the cushioned armchair she’d pulled over to the window.
The tailor is just finishing up his daily straightening of the shop. He doesn’t like anything out of place. His first customer will be on time. He always is. And, sure enough, as her watch beeps nine, he pushes the door open.