"You ok?" I said, turning to look at her over my shoulder as I opened the door and walked in. She just nodded, and I saw her eyebrows start to go higher, and her lips start to pull into her mouth. I wasn't sure if this was such a great idea after all. What was I supposed to do with some strange sobbing woman? I remembered that I didn't have anywhere for her to sit, and it felt like an even worse idea. I took in a deep breath of the frozen air as we walked into the apartment.
She was my first guest and I was suddenly a little self conscious about my housekeeping. I scooped up the cold soggy tea bags from the counter and threw them in the trash, and moved a few things around so I didn't look like a slob.
"Do you want some tea? Or hot chocolate maybe? I don't have a coffee maker." I grabbed two mugs before she could answer, refilled the pot that was on the stove, and started it to boil. She didn't say anything, and I looked behind me to see her standing in what I guess had been her living room, looking around the apartment like Dorothy when she came out of her little spinning cabin.
"I think I feel like some hot chocolate," I said, trying to break her from her daze. She stared at me as if she had forgotten where she was. "Sure," she said finally.
I attempted small talk, mostly to myself, while the water boiled. I asked her questions and got a nod here and there. Finally I had two cups of hot chocolate and I stirred at them violently trying to get the lumps out.
"I wish I had some of those tiny marshmallows. They're fun," I said, smiling awkwardly as I handed her the mug. It was from some rest stop in the Redwood Forrest, Paul Bunyan and his big blue Ox. I wished I would have noticed and given her the one with the Dalmatian instead. That would have seemed a little less awkward. My mom sent it to me because when I was little I loved Dalmatians. I tried to explain to her that, thanks to Disney, lots of little kids liked Dalmatians and that the phase was over, but she still kept sending me mugs and birthday cards with black spots.