“Who are you?”
“Um… My name is Kohaku…”
The young man studies me. “Okay, but who are you?”
“I live in the apartment above you,” I say. “I just moved in.”
He scratches his head for a second, turns to glance over his shoulder, and then looks back at me. He opens the door slightly wider but still won’t let me in. I shift my weight uncomfortably.
“What do you want?” he asks warily. Immediately he winces, recognizing that his question came off as rude in a way he didn’t intend.
I let it slide. “I just want to get to know my new neighbors,” I say.
“I missed your name,” I suggest politely.
“It’s nice to meet you, Brandon.”
He nods in return.
By this point it’s clear he’s never letting me in. That’s okay – I understand. People generally aren’t willing to let strangers into their apartment, even strangers who live with them. But all I want to do is make friends with him, and how else are we going to do it?
“Do you want to come over to my place for coffee sometime?” I ask him.
He thinks about it. “Um… sure, I guess.”
“When are you free?”
He thinks some more. “I can do tomorrow afternoon. Around two o’clock. Is that okay?”
“But I don’t drink coffee,” he adds suddenly. “Tea?”
I smile happily. “Tea it is.”
We say goodbye, and I head back up the stairs, rejoicing in my slight victory.