The note taped to my apartment door said, ‘Game night, my place, 7:30 p.m. Thursday. See you then.’ It was unsigned, and I didn’t recognize the sloppy handwriting.
I stared at it, imagining the possibilities. Did they forget to sign it or think I’d recognize their handwriting? Did they stick the note on the wrong door? Were they pulling my chain?
Our building’s outer door was always locked, so another tenant in the old house converted into tiny flats for singles probably delivered the note. I’d met them all but didn’t know them well.
I put the note aside and awaited clarification. If I heard nothing, I’d check the floors on Thursday. If I saw no activity, I’d write it off as someone’s weird joke.
After work on Thursday, I had a bite at the local pub and checked my door and answering machine for messages before walking through the building. I saw no sign of an apartment with any social activity.
When I returned to my little flat, I entered an unfamiliar space occupied by two women and one man. I recognized none of them, but they seemed to know me. A table with two decks of cards, a scorepad for Bridge, and four chairs dominated the main room. Soft jazz played on the stereo, and drinks and snacks were laid out.
We sat down to play, and my partner dealt the first hand. My knowledge of the game was limited, and my skill, rudimentary. But I played with abandon, and we won several hands we should have lost.
When the other couple left, my partner led me to the master suite. She pulled a bottle of champagne from an ice bucket, released the cork, and filled two flutes. “To my lover on our first anniversary. He never ceases to amaze.”
The following morning, I awoke alone in the Murphy bed in my tiny one-room apartment. My pants pocket contained a cash register receipt I’d used to scribble a note. It was dated August 28, 1973, thirteen months into the future. Suddenly, my future looked very bright.