The window repair man arrived at the house. The key was where the glass shop dispatcher had told him to look for it, under the garden gnome in the flower bed near the front door. He had the key ready to put in the lock but then he saw through the glass door a purse and car keys on the floor, where a woman might leave them as she prepared to go out. That told him someone was at home so he rang the bell and waited no more than a few seconds before a woman appeared.
She had short dark hair and she wore jeans and a woolly turquoise top. She opened the door and she smiled at him and he realized in that instant that he had never been smiled at before. Her smile. Her perfect radiant little face smiling up at him in the doorway of this house, this house she lived in. The window repair man understood that she probably smiled this way at everybody. Did her smile have this effect on everyone or just him?
“I’m Nancy,” she said, her hand outstretched. He introduced himself and shook her hand. Then she showed him the broken window in the back door.
Later on Nancy helped him with the new window. She offered her assistance because she could see it was a job requiring two sets of hands. She held the small, double-glazed thermal-pane window unit in its place in the door and she also maintained gentle pressure on the inner frame. To manage this she stood facing the edge of the door while it was half open, with one arm on either side of the door, holding the window unit in place.
The window repair man’s part was to fit the outside frame and then to install from the interior side of the door the 18 screws that fastened the two parts of the frame together, with the glazed unit sandwiched in between. To do this he was required to stand behind Nancy and reach around her. He could smell her hair inches below his chin. She talked to him about her dog.
On his way home he realized that he did not know the colour of her eyes. Since the smile at the front door he hadn’t dared look directly into her eyes for fear of being transfixed, mesmerized and lost.