by Emma Faye
When a mysterious women enter's Mike's life, he finds himself changed - 2018
I was pretty content with my life. I made plenty of money to get by and tuck some into savings. I wasn't exactly in shape, but I wasn't overweight or anything like that. I passed the time with video games, movies, books, things like that that I could do on my own. I lived in a decent apartment; Nothing fancy, but not a rat hole either. So of course I wasn't exactly happy when all this got shaken up. I wasn't livid or yelling, I don't tend to get mad like that, but I was definitely uncomfortable when Jess showed up.
Let me explain it a little better than that. I was sitting at my computer finishing up the day's work of a Friday afternoon when the buzzer went off. I figured it was a package arriving or something like that, although I didn't remember ordering anything lately. I pressed the button to let the delivery person in and tried to finish up the last bit of my work before he arrived. I was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt because I never felt productive if I wore anything less. A knock on the door signaled the delivery guy was here. I hit save on my work and went to the door. It had been maybe a minute since I let them in since I lived on the first floor in room 101, so it didn't take long to walk to my place.
I opened the door only to find it wasn't a delivery guy waiting for me, but a girl wearing a wedding dress. I opened my mouth to ask who she was, only for her to rush through the door, past me and begin looking around frantically. I was afraid I was getting robbed or something, so I slammed the door before she could make off with anything and began staring at her, watching for what she was going to take. Then she surprised me again by speaking.
“Please,” She asked, “Where can I hide in here? My fiance is coming and if he finds me he's going to kill me. I'm sorry to impose, but I just told the driver to pull over at the nearest place and I pressed the first button.”
“Go in the bathroom and lock the door.” I said in a voice that almost sounded like an order while pointing to the bathroom, “I- I'll... cover f-for you.”
Within moments of hearing the bathroom door click locked there was a pounding on the door that nearly made me jump out of my skin even though I was expecting it. No charisma and now I had to lie to a stranger, this was a very specific nightmare of mine. I opened the door and hit the tall, slender, well-dressed man with a confused look.
“Is-Is there something I c-can do for you?” I asked him.
“That depends,” He replied in a deep, smooth voice, “Have you happened to see a runaway bride recently? I'm afraid my fiancee has developed a case of cold feet, and I wanted to find her to try to convince her everything is ok.”
This sounded perfectly reasonable to me, and I was very tempted to tell him I had his bride-to-be until I remembered how afraid she had looked when she ran into my apartment.
“A-A runaway bride? I th-thought that kind of thing only happened in... movies and stuff?” I replied, deflecting the question.
“Yea, so did I until it happened to me,” The man answered, eyeing me just a little suspiciously, “Is that a nervous stutter you've got?”
“N-Not a nervous one,” I answered, “J-just a g-general stutter. I've had it since.. W-well since I was real little.”
“Ah, I gotcha, I used to have one when I was a little boy too. I outgrew mine though. Anyway, I'm going to be going through this place one door at a time until I'm sure she didn't come here, so if you hear lots of knocking or maybe a little yelling, don't worry about it.” He said before turning and leaving.
“O-Ok, good luck.” I said before closing the door and letting out a sigh of relief.
The bathroom door opened and the girl in the wedding dress stepped out. She immediately threw her arms around me and started thanking me repeatedly. I couldn't even think of the last time I was hugged by a non-family member, let alone a complete stranger.
Now that I could take a moment to actually look at her, she was really beautiful. Short, brown hair down to about her shoulders, petite build, which brought her to about a few inches shorter than me, and big hazel eyes. The dress was strapless, showing her slender shoulders and almond skin.
“Um, y-yea, it was nothing. R-really. I didn't even have to... lie to him. N-not really.” I answered to her thanks.
“I'm Jessica by the way, but everyone calls me Jess.” She said as she took a step back from me.
“I'm M-Mike. Is-Is there anything else I-I can...?” I began to ask before being interrupted.
“Anyway, I just heard footsteps going upstairs, so now I'm going to sneak out while he's not down here. Thank you again for the hiding place!” She interrupted me before placing a gentle kiss on my cheek before stepping out the door.
I was content with my life. I was happy living in my solitude. Jess broke through that solitude, she made me actually want to talk to someone for the first time in a long time, and my conversation with her wasn't even anything to brag about. I'm no longer content with my life, I've started wandering the streets at night, hoping to find another instant connection with a person like that, but it never happens. Instead I just walk through the dark streets alone, no longer happy in my solitude.
Jess ruined my life without even meaning to. If she had known the imposition she was putting on me, would she still have knocked on my door? If she knew the kind of life I was comfortable with? What would have happened if I had actually said something to get her to stay? The questions would race through my mind as I walked along, yet an answer never came.
It's been months since that day with Jess, and still I think about her, about how I'll never see her again. The nighttime walks have become less hopeful, and more restless. They're just due to a need to get out of my apartment, to get moving. And yet they never seem to be enough. The need to get out is beyond a physical location. I can't explain it.
I saw Jess in the news the other day. Murdered by her groom-to-be in a murder-suicide. I guess the guy couldn't imagine life without having her. I can see why. I cried when I read that news, for the first time in years. I couldn't even finish reading the article, it made me too sick to my stomach. Instead I cut out the picture of her from the paper and put it on my refrigerator. A reminder of that one day, a great story to tell if I ever have a guest.