My focus is on the ornate wallpaper covered in gold paisley in front of me. I study it with my full attention drawn to the sheen that makes it shimmer in the light that my livingroom window casts on it. I wonder if it would be classed as a burgundy or more of a wine?
I’m stalling, I need to do a load of laundry because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for two days now but I have a problem. My apartment’s laundry room is located downstairs and across the complex. I will have to leave my safe apartment and go out there with other people, in the daylight with other people. My basket is right here all ready and full of clothes, I have a container full of quarters here in my cardigan pocket. I have been clutching my apartment keys in my left hand for the past twenty minutes.
All I have to do is get up, pick up the damn basket, open the door, close it, lock it and head down stairs. I’ll walk as far away from the buildings as I can to avoid the shady looking guys that like to wait outside their apartments. I will pass the pool and that’ll give me something to look at until I am at the laundry room. It will be fine. It’s just doing laundry and I need to do laundry sometime. I cannot spend all day sitting here staring at wallpaper and trying to get up the courage to go out there. That is what happened to yesterday and I don’t get any braver as the minutes tick by. I’m just going to do it.
I stand up and walk over to my basket in the hallway in front of the door. I pick it up and steady it against my hip and get my keys ready. I open my door, it’s cloudy but the sun seems so bright.
I step outside and my heart is racing, my keys are ready but I fumble with them, keys have always been my enemy. There, the door is locked and I walk up to the head of the stairs and look down. They waver under me. I tighten my grip on my laundry basket and I hold my keys so that one is sticking straight out the way they taught me in defense class. If someone attacks me I can use my key to poke out their eye. The key shakes in my hand.
“Are you okay?”
The man’s voice shocks me, he must be the new tenant I heard moving into the apartment next to mine. I try to look up at him but all I can is his silhouette. I stand there shaking and silent like an idiot.
“Miss? Are you okay?”
I clutch the stair rail harder because I feel like I’ll swoon at any minute. I think that I nod yes but all I really care about is getting back inside. My head is full of clanging warning bells and red flashes. I have to get back inside. I push past the silhouette with my key still sticking out. I manage to open my door before I drop it and then pick up quickly almost emptying my laundry basket in the process. I kick the two t-shirts that have fallen out into my apartment and shut the door hard behind me. I slump to the floor and throw the basket down in the hallway again. My knees rise up to my chest and I hug them tightly there.
I stare at the wallpaper again before I lay my head down on my shoulder. I see it’s pattern clearly for a minute before hot tears blur it out.
Written for the Puzzle Piece photo prompt for Story Dam. This is my first time participating in this comunity so hopefully I followed the prompt correctly! My limit was 600 words but this came out to 601 or 602.