In the middle of the day, 2:53 to be exact, on a Wednesday, at the beginning of spring before the frost had fully lifted from the trees, and shrubbery, and grass, and flowers I found myself walking, shirtless, to a person’s house I had never met. It was still a little chilly. Too chilly to be walking around outside without a shirt on, but I had to make due with what I had available at the time. Unfortunately for me all I had available were shoes, socks, pants, a belt, and underwear. I was unsure as to where my shirt had gone, but that didn’t really matter. I was fairly certain the person I was going to visit would not be too offended by my lack of attire. After all, I was on my way to ask him if I could borrow a cup of flour. The reason why I had to walk the .8 miles to this particular house, on this particular day, at this particular time, was unbeknownst to me. I had been delivered the information weeks ago, in the mail, when a mail carrier, who was NOT my normal mail carrier, dropped off the daily mail. In that particular delivery, instead of just the normal flyers for coupons and sales at stores I would never find myself shopping at, there was an envelope. It was a manilla colored envelope of unusual size. Instead of being the size of a standard letter, or even a legal letter for that matter, it looked more like the size of a poorly planned Save-the-Date card for a wedding I wouldn’t have wanted to attend anyway.
I remember opening the envelope, half expecting it to be a cheaply made solicitation for a new lawyer in town, or perhaps a shady offer to refinance my home to a lower payment, even though I rented. When the manilla colored, oddly shaped card fell from the envelope on to my lap, I must admit, I was mildly intrigued. It was a simple card. It had a fold in the middle. Simple embossing. Mild golden tinted outlining. With the name “Justin” written across the front in an amateurishly crafted box, that was aligned just left of center.
I picked up the card and slowly opened it, completely unsure of who had sent this, and what the card could contain. The words on the inside left me even more confused. They really gave me no indication as to who the card was from, or why it was sent to me. All it said was:
2:58 p.m. SHARP
9026 Sudley Rd
Pick up Flour
Wear what you have available
That was two weeks ago. March 11th. The only day I had seen a different mail carrier deliver mail to my house. I stared at the card for a long time. I wondered why it had to be before 3:00 by two minutes. I wondered why what I was wearing was of importance. I wondered why I had to pick up flour. The only thing I was sure of was where the house I was going to was located. It was three houses down from my childhood friends house. The house where we would swim in the summertime. I hadn’t been there in many years. Possibly decades.
I knew, from my time as a child, it would take about 5 minutes to walk from my house to his house. Being that I had that kernel of knowledge tucked away in my brain for just such an occasion, when I looked up at the clock and saw the time was 2:53 I knew I had to leave to make it to the house in time. Luckily the card allotted me the freedom to attend the house shirtless. This was especially good, because at that very moment when I had to leave the house, I was not wearing one, nor knew where one was.
In my time, walking to the house located at 9026 Sudley Rd.., I started wondering if I had even read the invite correctly. Was I going to the house to pick up flour? Was that a direction telling me to pick up flour before I went to the house shirtless, and cold? Were my nipples always this pointy, or was that a side effect of the cold air? There were many questions floating around in my head, none of which were going to be answered without someone, presumably a resident or tenant of 9026 Sudley Rd, telling me what the purpose of this entire adventure was. The anticipation was killing me, but I knew there was no need to hurry along. 2:58 sharp did not mean 2:57, nor did it mean 2:59. No, 2:58 sharp meant to arrive on the front door step at exactly 2:58, and that was my goal. I wanted to be wrapping my cold, frosty knuckles against the door at that exact moment.
A passerby, who was much more appropriately dressed for the weather, glared at me, saying something under her breath that sounded mean, imprudent, and vaguely racist, but I don’t know why she would have said that to me. I’m mostly white, and I had never smoked crack a day in my life. Maybe she just hated people who looked like her. I wasn’t even certain if that was a thing, but I thought maybe. I shook off the weird feeling of impending doom she had instilled in me and continued to walk, taking the right onto Sudley Rd, as I had so many times in the past.
I checked my watch, which I had previously set to the standard time, just so I knew I wouldn’t accidentally miss my deadline due to a slightly faulty second hand or slowing battery. It said 2:57. I was going to be arriving at exactly the moment I wanted to. I could see the house just a few doors down. The large white house, with the large red door, with the large white fence, covered in ivy, that surrounded the backyard. With each passing step the house got about three feet closer, and with every passing meter I stepped, another second or two clicked off the time I had to get there.
I turned up the driveway, and passed by the fence gate, heading to the door which was accessible to the street, and not the one which was presumably the front door, inside the gated area. Checking my watch I watched as the second hand passed by the “XXII” making the time 2:58 in the pm on March 25th. I knocked on the door, hard enough so someone on the first floor would be able to hear me, which was where I assumed someone was waiting for me to arrive.
The large red door swung open, and standing there in front of me was a man.
He was a normal looking man. Dark hair. About six feet, maybe an inch taller or shorter. I was never really good at estimating those things. He had dark eyes. Stubble over his chin. He was wearing a black t-shirt. And no pants.
He looked at me. Confused by my not wearing a shirt, or so I assumed. As I was looking at him with the same look since he was currently not wearing any pants.
Slowly he lifted his hand and handed me a bag. It was filled with a white powdery substance I could only assume was flour. I took the flour in my hand and looked at him. He smiled an awkward smile and shut the door.
I put the flour into the pocket of my pants and headed home. I had no idea what the purpose of any of that was. But now I had flour. I would most assuredly have to learn how to bake something with it soon.