Ten steps lead up to the door. I’d dated Esther ten times. These things have a meaning, I know.
In my pocket, Mum’s ring bumps against my hip as I mount the stairs, like an ambassador bringing tribute to a potentate.
I press the bell. Overhead, a flock of new-hatched starlings trace patterns in the sky. There are ten of them.
She opens the door and I smell the scent of gardenias. A waft of coriander has followed her from the kitchen. On one knee, I proffer the ring.
“Are you nuts?” she says. “We’ve been on, like, ten dates.”