Mickey stood up to stretch his legs and looked around. The hallway was still quiet, dark and cold. He must have dozed off for a bit, but didn’t remember. He didn’t remember a lot.
He knocked three times faintly on the metal door. “Please let me in, ” he whispered.
Glancing at his watch, he realized he had been out here for hours, and she had not opened the door once. He knew she was in there though. He could hear her footsteps padding across the wood floor every so often. Hear her shushing the dog when it started to whimper.
He could not even remember now why she was so mad. He kept closing his eyes trying to recall the night, but there were parts that were just lost to him. It started out well, a night out with his friends-dinner, a club, dancing…He just couldn’t figure it out. She wasn’t even there, was she?
“Come on. Open. The. Door.” Louder this time. He was getting irritated, tired, and a hangover was already pounding behind his eyes.
The neighbor across the hall opened her door a crack and looked out. She closed it quickly. He knew she wouldn’t do anything, she never did. No matter what she heard or saw, she never said a word.
He could hear the dog’s nails click on the floor, his nose searching out his scent from under the door. And then, nothing. She must have come and picked him up.
He knocked three times and waited. Thirty minutes later, he knocked three times and waited. He was wired enough, he could keep this up all night if he had to. And he likely would, she was that stubborn sometimes. He thought about leaving, ending this, he knew he was no good for her. She deserved so much better. But he couldn’t let her go. The thought of seeing her with someone else punched him in the gut and made him nauseous.
He closed his eyes and a flash of the night came back to him. Dancing and laughing, kissing her neck. He opened his eyes and remembered he had not been kissing her, it was someone else, someone random. Had she seen?
Knock, knock, knock. Every thirty minutes. Two and a half hours now. It was 3am.
“I’m sorry. You know I love you. I don’t know why I do these things. Please let me in. I am going to sit here all night.”
Silence. Had she gone to sleep?
Knock, knock, knock. It was annoying, like a faucet dripping, but that was the point. Drive her nuts. Wear her down. It always worked.
Knock, knock, knock.
He sat back down on the floor and rested his head on the door. The steel was cool against his forehead, now feeling like it was going to explode. He closed his eyes again and remembered seeing her in the parking lot outside the club. She was talking to some guy. He sauntered up sloppy and drunk and took hold of her arm. He got in her face and told her to go home. Go the fuck home, were his exact words. She slapped him. But the other guy left, and then so did he, satisfied he had ruined her night out.
It explained why he was still sitting out here, that’s for sure. He grinned to himself.
“Open the fucking door, you little bitch.” He was not loud, not shouting, he said it quietly, menacingly. He knocked again.
Once more he heard the woman across the hall shuffling around her apartment. He wished he felt bad about keeping her up, but it was not his fault, was it? All she had to do was let him in, and everyone could sleep.
He looked at his watch again. 4:45am. Knock, knock, knock.
“Please baby, I love you. Let me in.” 5:15 Knock, knock, knock.
He began to knock with a rhythm now, still high, still wide-awake. His head was killing him and his mouth felt like cotton balls had been stuffed inside and he was oddly hungry, but he was not leaving.
He started to sing quietly. He was horribly off key, garbling the lyrics, but he was singing to her.
5:30am. He could see the light coming from under the door, sunrise through her windows. He knocked again. He whispered I love you one more time.
And from behind the door he heard her sigh. Heard her click the bolt and open the door. Her face was tear stained and her eyes red, she had not slept at all.
“I hate you,” was all she said, as she took his hand. She led him wordlessly to her room, and into her bed.