Deep breath

I pushed the gate and it would only swing open a little and then freeze, but I was able to slide through sideways, same as every Saturday for the last three months.  I was getting onto the premises of the newly built headquarters of the place where I volunteer once a week.  I had heard that there were other eccentricities in the new construction that also weren’t quite perfected yet (the larger parking lot gate, a sink in the utility room). 

Suitcase wheels sounded behind me, outside the gate.  It was Amelia, the stout senior citizen who also volunteered on Saturdays.  She was towing the suitcase, toddling at her usual slow pace.  The week before, she had asked me what to do with a dirty dish and I said as tactfully as I could that the volunteers just wash stuff like that when we find it; we don’t need to ask permission.  

Amelia was naturally a bit dim and here she came trundling up to the gate, not knowing it was broken and wouldn’t open enough to let her through — forget about the suitcase.  “I’m sorry this gate won’t let you through, I’m afraid,” I said, and she said hi, pulled on the gate, and it opened 90 degrees giving her all the room she needed to follow me into the building.