My work cycle is not normal. Going to office at 11AM and going home after midnight. Sometimes even at 3 or 4 in the morning.
I know, it’s not healthy. But I’m used to this cycle.
Even the guards know me and greet me the usual, “Good morning, Ma’am” as some kind of a light joke.
My schedule does not bother me. Until one day that made me want to change my working schedule.
I have a unit located on the second floor of a fairly good building. The area is at ease, neighbors friendly. But no matter how friendly they are, I don’t talk to my neighbors. I’m a hardcore introvert, not very good at small talks. I dread awkward social situations where I’m stuck with “Uhmmmm…”
So one day (or night), I came home around 2am. I’m rather feeling particularly good since the overtime I worked resulted to a successful result.
I was looking for my door key when the next door opened. As I find the key while humming, an old woman stepped out.
Not my usual self, I greeted her “Good morning”, and pointed out that she woke up very early in the morning.
The moment those words escaped my mouth, I immediately regret saying them. Its as if a switch was clicked and I feel an awful amount of heavy dread and fear. Like something is off.
She did not answer and stare straight to my eyes. I wish this is just another awkward situation. Please let this be just that.
It must be just a minute but it sure felt like forever. We just stared at each others eyes.
Then she slowly smiled. Not the normal smile, like too far stretched ear to ear kind of smile.
“I’m just going for a walk, dear..”, she said. That’s when I saw she was barefoot. Something is really wrong.
I just smiled hoping this will just end.
I turned the knob when she spoke again, “Can I come in?”
I froze momentarily.
I pretend I didn’t hear her and jumped inside my unit.
Just as I was closing the door, her hand appeared making it impossible to close the door,
“I said, can I come in. Didn’t you hear me?”, she sounded angry.
“B-but, why? What do you want?”, trying to conceal my fear but my voice failed me.
“I just want to wash my feet, dear..”, she removed her string hand and sounded sweet again.
I took this chance to close the door and locked it tight. “I’m sorry, I’m very tired.”
I’m terribly afraid that she’d scream, she’d knock continuously. I don’t know.
But the other side was silent. I didn’t hear her speak, or even walk away.
I immediately changed clothes. The good vibes now obviously gone.
I headed upstairs and turned off the lights. God, I just want to sleep and forget this.
I hid under the blanket and started to drift off. Hearing the soft clicking of the clock and nothing else. I like this silence.
Just as I’m between awake and having a dream, I hear the water running downstairs.
I immediately opened my eyes and sat up. The lights blinding me.