It’s 2am and there’s no good reason for anyone to be knocking on my door. Granted, I’m not asleep but I should be, as usual. And I’m not expecting anyone.
My heart picks up tempo as I slip out of bed, quietly digging my toes into the carpet and padding across the apartment to my front door. I’ve seen enough Law and Order: SVU episodes to know there’s not a chance in hell I’m actually opening the door. But my curiosity has dragged me to the threshold.
I pull myself up on my tippy toes, straining to see out of the peep hole. There’s a man on the other side, his shoulders slumped over so only the top of his head visible, looking like he’s typing out a text.
“Who is it?” I ask, hoping I sound more confident than I feel. I’m greatly regretting the fact that there aren’t any guns in the house yet because I’m female and live alone, and more importantly southern; so there should be guns.
“Carly?” he asks through the door, more than a little confused by not recognizing my voice.
“No. Sorry. No Carly here.”
By now I can hear his phone ringing and he answers clearly exasperated.
“I’m outside your door… maybe… What’s the apartment number again? Oh, shit.”
After a few more seconds of hushed conversation, he hangs up. I watch through the peephole as he raises his hand to knock gently once more.
“Not sure if you’re still there,” he says far quieter than our previous conversation, “but if you are, I’m so sorry. Have a goodnight.”
He walks off in the direction of the stairs seeking Carly’s apartment and only then do I lower myself from the balls of my feet and exhale loudly. My heart is fluttering wildly in my chest. My breathing is choppy. My skin is hot to the touch.
I crawl back into bed, trying to get my misfiring synapses under control. I don’t feel scared, I don’t think. I was never in any danger. But still, my heart is a drum line.
It’s not until later, when I’ve calmed down enough to start to drift back off that I realize what my body was reacting to; foolishly, irrationally, I thought it might be you.