(c) Andres Fragoso Jr
Finally. I’m home. It’s been a long day and all I want is to get some rest. Order some Chinese food, I don’t feel like eating Mexican leftovers. Drink some Merlot to help me relax. Watch a rented movie.
I hear a knock on the door. Man! Let me get my coat off and my shoes before you knock on my door.
I open the door to two men in black slacks with white shirts and black ties. The young men on the left, is of Asian descent, a little on the hefty size. His hair short cropped and thick black rimmed glasses over his round face. Still has the innocent look. He’s holding a thick bible with his hands on his chest.
The other man is tall, slim, with short blond hair. His deep, blue eyes piercing mine. His smiling face flushed with fear and embarrassment. “We have the wrong address,” he blurts out. He turns his body hiding his face. “I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to disturb you.” He quickly leaves his partner’s side, practically jumps down the steps to the first floor of my two-story building.
The Asian young man stares at me. Smiles and hunches his shoulders.
I close the door and stare at it waiting for answers.
Was he really at my door? How did he find me? Was it he?
I open the door to an empty hallway. They had gone. I close the door and stare at it as if it would give me the answers of tonight’s knock. I open the door and walk to the top of the stairs. I slowly descend into the depths of my despair, afraid that every step would lead me to the known, the hopelessness, the love, the comfort, the fears, the neglect, the abuse. I scout the parking lot of the apartment complex. Nothing. There are no cars with lights on. There are no cars moving or people walking.
The parking lot is as dead as my soul. Why now? It’s been twenty years and he’s at my door?
I go back to my apartment. I change into some comfortable, raggedy, old sweats. The same ones he wore when I was with him. A comfort I never got to throwing away. His scent a smell of euphoria and dread that has plagued my memories for years.
My nightmares have come to fruition. Now he knows where I live. Now I await my death. Again.
I eat without tasting the pungent Orange Chicken, or the small pills of death. I swallow my crimson water. My last meal. If I had known I was going to die today, I would have ordered Sushi and warm Sake. Eaten a gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
The movie passed as a moment. What was that movie about? Who was in it? All I could think of was of him at my door. I hear a noise outside. I get up from my seat and go to the door. I peek through the peephole. Nothing. Great! Now I’m hearing things.
I turn off the television, the lights and go to bed. I was cold and turned on the heater. I was freezing. I raised it to seventy-eight. The heater turns on and I look out the peephole. Nothing.
I lay in bed to sleep. I’m wide-awake wondering if it really was him. Can’t be. Nobody knows where I live. I’ve been practically a hermit all these years. I kept friends at a distance, not an arm, but a whole body. I have a P.O. Box so no one can find out where I live. I don’t have social media. No one knows where I live.
My mind is racing. Memories from when we met. Memories of our first night together. We were each others first man. Memories of waking up in the hospital. Memories, memories, memories. All those memories were at one-point nightmares. On the other hand, are those nightmares just memories?
I hear a noise. I walk very carefully to the door and peek through the peephole. The neighbor coming in from work. His hard, lean body in a big brown coat. The screaming of his infant son coming through the door. I go back to bed.
I hear a thud. I get up and see that its three twenty three in the morning. I slept for three hours. My body on a pool of sweat. My sweat. I’m thirsty and hot. I go to the kitchen and get a glass of water. I turn the heater down to seventy; I can’t do this to myself. I head to my room and half way there, I turn back. I walk on broken eggshells to get to the door. I peek through the damn peek hole that I’m getting to know to intimately. Now I know the allure of a glory hole that my neighbor talks about constantly. If only his wife knew what he did with his free time and asks me to do.
I close my eyes and lean my forehead on the door for a moment. I go back to bed.
The sun’s rays warm me up. I wake gently and comfortably. I forgot to close the curtains the night before and the glorious sun has wakened me. I am alive. I am free. If it really was him and he did nothing but get away from me, then that means I meant nothing to him.
I am free. Free from the nightmares that have plagued me for years. Now I know what he would do if he found me. Now I know what I would do if I see him.
I take a cool shower, dress to the weather outside and I go to the park. I run a few miles because I’m free, not because I’m being chased.
I AM FREE!!!
Andres Fragoso, Jr., is a freelance poet and writer with a knack for the alternative feelings of human emotions.