The Spark

A Short Story

By: Andrew Perea

He could hear his coworkers babbling as he sat down into his car. Their distant voices went from obnoxious to inaudible in the quick motion of closing his door. They were probably making plans for the night — they always went out on Friday. He had himself convinced that he wouldn’t do anything with them even if they asked him, or at least he tried to.

He dropped his keys as he fumbled to unlock his third story apartment door. There was nothing quite like taking that first step through the apartment door after a shitty day’s work, and he just prolonged that step a little more.

There was no beautiful girl waiting inside for him, there was no dog crying at the door, it was just an empty one-bedroom apartment; the only thing waiting for him was a sink full of dishes. It would have to keep waiting.

After heating up some chicken, albeit dry and nearly tasteless, he contently sat on the couch and dosed off to the sound of a bad movie.

Three rooms down she was packing her things, this was the last time she was going to be smacked around by the man who claimed to love her. Her bruises were getting too difficult to cover with makeup and her friends constantly questioned her wearing sweaters in July.

She didn’t know why she fell for him in the first place — hell, she could barely remember a time when she did like him. Leaving was both exciting and terrifying for her, she couldn’t help but think about what he might do to her when he finds out, or what she would do considering he supported her since she was laid off. None of that mattered, she needed out.

He was back early, she knew by the illegally loud music he played in his car when he was drunk. There wasn’t enough time to finish packing or even make it down the stairs without running into him; she grabbed what she had and rushed out of the apartment.

He was woken up by what he thought was those damn kids playing ding-dong-ditch again — he never had any real visitors. Just to be sure, he went to check anyway. Upon opening the door, it was as if time stopped. Two strangers, staring eye-to-eye, knowing that they could cease each other’s pain.

“Can I come in?”

He didn’t need an explanation as to why she was there, not even after she was inside, he was just glad that she was. They stood in silence behind the closed door, him waiting for her to say something, her listening for footsteps.

The whole building could hear the door slam as he rushed back down the stairs and drove off. The music was much louder this time.

Still standing on the inside of the door, her terrified face gave away what was happening. There was no denying that there was a spark between them, but he knew that it was neither the time nor place.

“Thanks, I won’t forget you,” she said as she opened the door and left.

And the spark was gone.