by Balore (28.12.19)
It was a Friday evening and Jake was busy doing absolutely nothing. He lied on his bed, staring at the ceiling and resting after a long, hot day at work. He promised himself the entire week this was how he was going to spend at least a fraction of his weekend. Nothing could spoil this moment of bliss.
Or so he thought, as he soon heard a familiar clink coming from his phone, the sound of an incoming text message. He stretched his arm towards the nightstand and brought the phone towards his face. “come over I have beer” the message said. Jake didn’t have to look for the sender to know who it was. Martha.
Martha was a friend, a good friend even. They’ve met at a mutual acquaintance’s party two years ago and maintained contact to this day. Even after their other friends skipped town looking for jobs elsewhere and the two were busy with full-time jobs, they still found time to hang around every now and then. Sometimes Jake wondered whether it was their way of coping with suddenly finding themselves left behind by the people they studied at the University with, their old friends. But then again he and Martha would always find a common ground. Otherwise they wouldn’t be friends to this day.
He began to type a reply. Normally, this would be where he’d ask who else is coming, but there was no point to that question. Neither his nor hers social life had been blooming lately and it was obvious they would be by themselves. Instead he asked a more pragmatic question: “k what should I bring?”.
It took her a split second to reply: “idk some crisps?”.
Some crisps it is then, Jake thought and sent the last message that evening: “be there in 15”.
He sighed. He didn’t really want to get up and walk over a mile to Martha’s place, even less so to spend his evening gulping cheap beer. He knew it would be cheap; as far as he could remember, she would always pick some bargain booze to drink and thus would always come to a party carrying a lot of it. A hangover was inevitable and the thought of starting his weekend wishing to die was yet another thing Jake wasn’t looking forward to.
And so he got up, put his shoes on and left.
He walked slowly through the streets, partly because he wasn’t in a hurry (even though he promised to be there in 15 minutes), partly because the evening weather was nice enough to take it slow. The sun was slowly setting over the town and a light breeze was blowing, making the temperature more bearable. He passed the people coming from work, the wishes of finally coming home and resting clearly visible on their tired faces and he envied them a bit.
He entered a corner shop on the way and bought two large packs of onion flavoured crisps. Martha’s favourite, he thought, carrying them in a plastic bag he got with the purchase. Eventually he made it to her place, a two-stories apartment building made out of some dark grey stone, at the end of a narrow street. If it wasn’t for the last rays of the sun illuminating the building, it would look almost ominous. He approached the entry door which was wide open and he recalled Martha telling him once the locals never bothered to lock it. He climbed the stairs to the second floor, where she lived, and knocked on a worn-down red door of her apartment. Then, as there was no response, he knocked again, harder. He stood there for a moment, waiting for Martha to open and looked around out of boredom and curiosity. There were six other doors on this floor, each looking as old and worn as the one he was standing in front of. The building was old. He wondered whether he had met anyone living there other than Martha and her roommate but couldn’t remember ever seeing anyone else. Maybe there simply wasn’t anyone else, maybe the girls had the whole building to themselves. Kinda spooky, Jake thought. Bored with looking at other peoples’ doors, he knocked the third time, even harder than before but at the same time making sure he wouldn’t accidentally punch a hole in the wood. Finally, he heard the steps coming in from the inside and getting closer.