“What the hell are you even doing up at this hour?” A voice asks with a yawn. I bang on the door harder and harder. “Ain’t no one want to see you in there. Hell, I see you and I don’t even want to,” the homeless man moans. “Shut up you stupid vagrant. As a matter of fact, someone in there really does want to see me,” I inform him. “Oh, really? That why you have been out here for a better part of an hour messing up my sleep? The only fact I see around here is that no one wants your ass around. So, why don’t you go ahead and give it a rest and I can get some myself. Got an early morning believe it or not. I’m a very busy man,” the homeless man mumbles into his filth ridden pillow.
I stop banging on the door and I’m ready to bang on something else. I raise my fists, “One more word old man and I’ll see to it that you get plenty of rest.” The homeless man giggles. He giggles at me. I can feel my anger and frustration rising. “Don’t go starting trouble when troubles already found you. Take my advice. I didn’t end up here by design,” the man preaches. I start to take the steps down to his garbage bed when a familiar sweet voice takes a hold. “He’s right you know?” Her voice cutting through the commotion. All I wanted from her was an acknowledgement that I was even there. “I’ll ring you in. I guess we need to talk,” she says from the second-floor window. I turn back towards the door.
“Are you sure Miss Kelly?” The vagrant asks. “Of course, she is sure,” I snap at the man. “There you go starting trouble again. I ain’t afraid of you. Honestly, I ain’t got nothing left to lose,” the homeless man smiles a toothless grin before putting up his fists. “Yes, I’m sure Frank, but if I change my mind,” she begins to say. “I’ll be right here miss Kelly,” Frank finishes for her. She smiles and moves away from the window. Moments later I hear the sound of the door buzzing and I head inside. Frank lies back down on his makeshift bed, “Can’t get no peace and quiet. Thoughts this was a good neighborhood. God damn kids with their pointless drama. You want a challenge. Try washing your ass with no water. That right there is a situation.”
I ascend the stairs rapidly. A flight of stairs in an instant. There is much to say and who knows how long to say it. The door is cracked and waiting for me when I get there. I take in a large breath. Be cool Miles. Be cool I tell myself one more time before knocking on the door. She is waiting just on the other side as I enter. “May I ask what is so important you have to disturb me and the whole neighborhood at 3 am?” She starts right at the door way. There are so many things that I want to say. All at once, but only one thing I should say. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry for what? What you did or disturbing everyone? Because only one of those things can be fixed with an, I’m sorry,” she says. “I’m sorry for all of it. I’m sorry I’m here so late disturbing you and everyone else. I’m sorry for what I did earlier. I’m sorry for a lot of things,” I say searching for my words. “Yes, you should be,” she informs me watching my reaction. “I’m afraid, your sorry has come too late. Unfortunately, the words are useless at this point and are no longer any good here,” she pauses for a moment to let it sink in. Her eyes trapping the light from the hallway within. Her eyes look different than the times before. Something so different than the times before.
“Kelly please,” I interrupt. “Kelly please what? Forgive you again and again? Damnit Miles you can’t just keep messing up and thinking I will forgive you later for it. You can only play a song so many times before it becomes background noise,” her eyes like fire now. I step closer to her. I let her speak her mind and now I have to try the one move I have left. If I can get her in my arms, I know she will change her mind. I’m greeted by an open hand on my chest, “Not this time Miles. We are done,” she says sternly. “This is the last time I swear,” I reach for the hand on my chest. She quickly moves it away before I can even touch her one last time.
“You said that two times ago and every time before. Let me say this so you understand. I am done and this is the last time I am going to tell you.” She locks eyes with me. “But?” I try to say. I’m at a loss of words. “It’s time for you to leave and I’m not asking. I’m telling you,” she commands with her finger extended towards the stairs. I look her in the eyes one last time before doing as I was told. There comes a time in any battle where winning is losing either way. I put us here and know damn well I’ll only do it again. There is only one thing to do. I turn and walk my new path. I hear the door close behind me and the door’s lock click over as I reach the stairs. “I didn’t mean it,” I say to an empty audience. From behind the door, she breathes a heavy, “I know,” before her held back tears fall to the ground.
I leave the apartment building at the slowest of speeds. Lost in thought. What have I done this time? What have I given up for nothing? Questions I only have excuses for but no answers. I pass by the vagrant known only as Frank. “Out on your ass I see. You ain’t the only one. Join the club as they say,” he lets out a small laugh. The street goes silent as I walk down the block. A coldness washes over me from inside. Where I am to go from here. I really don’t know.