Frustrated with herself, Nadia slammed the door and continued down the hallway without looking back. She had spent enough time sitting in the apartment with a million ideas running through her mind. The whole rent an apartment idea was supposed to free her mind, instead she felt as though she was completely trapped inside it.
As soon as she reached the stairway, she slammed her palm against the wall; the sound of her shoes scuffling along the stairs only echoed a noise very similar. Then, she reached the landing between floors.
She bounced off of the wall with a quick push and began down the next set of stairs to the floor below. At the last step, Nadia jumped into the air and extended her legs at the right moment to slam both feet down on the concrete floor at the same time, which sent an echo through the cracked door in front of her.
Without pause, she continued down the next set of stairs. The thought of her writing talent being wasted was of no help at all. Without writing, she felt as though she was nothing, a nobody who nobody cared for. Being unable to write, though she had more than enough quiet space to think, was a waste.
The sound of her shoes slapping each step told of the speed in which she had been running down the last set of stairs. The door in front of the bottom step swung open with speed and force. It stopped only after it got hung on the rugged pavement in the alley.
Nadia glanced down, then tilted her head back and closed her eyes. She stepped back to the door and gave it a quick tug. She pulled and jerked on it, but the door was stuck.
“No worries there, little lady. I’ll get that for ya,” came a friendly voice from behind.
“Yeah, thanks,” Nadia replied as she turned to see a heavy-set construction worker walking toward her. Instantly, she pulled her arms in and stepped out of his way.
“Sorry, been out here all mornin’ with no one to talk to. I’ve been practicing lines for some ridiculous setup these producers have goin’ on, but to tell ya the truth, I think my luck is the worst it’s been in years,” the man said as he pushed and pulled on the door a couple times. “See? Got it.”
Nadia had been slowly walking away from him while watching him. It seemed so much easier when he pushed on the door and it moved. He tugged on the door and it moved. “Yeah. Thank you,” she replied with a nod before spinning around.
“You take care of yourself.”
Nadia raised her hand to her shoulder and simply waved instead of following through with the thought that had come to her mind. She stopped on the sidewalk and looked around.
In that moment, she saw a man standing at the end of the block selling hotdogs. He had two men and one woman waiting in a line while tending to a younger man. Beside him, there stood a group of people waiting to cross the street; if only the light would change.
Closer to her, Nadia watched a couple men pass by wearing expensive suits with matching briefcases. Only one of them wore a watch; it was on the gentleman’s left wrist. Nadia turned her head and walked to the edge of the sidewalk in order to double-check.
“Excuse me!” a man yelled as he grabbed her wrist. “I really don’t want to watch you commit suicide this morning, so please back away and wait until I’m gone.”
Nadia was at a loss for words as she watched the gentleman scurry down the block. Words didn’t begin to form in her mind until she watched the light change at the intersection he was walking toward. “Thanks, I think,” she curiously said. “Maybe,” she added with a second thought.
She turned in one big circle to look around. Taking in the sights and sounds of the busy street, Nadia smelled the hotdogs from the stand at the corner. She could also smell perfume mixed with the scent of a wet dog. Then, two pooches passed by her, walking a man wearing black tights who was busy talking on a cellphone.
“There’s a man on the corner sellin’ hot-dogs, a crowd of people waiting to cross the street. There’s a woman wearing lovely perfume, and some guy who doesn’t belong wearing tights,” she said raising her hand to block the view as she turned around.
“Then, we’ve got the other half of the block which seems to be filled with businessmen who seem to be on their way to lunch, or a meeting, or to flirt and tease their mistress while their wife is at home with their children,” Nadia said glancing between a couple of them on cellphones. “There’s a guy on a bicycle, riding on the sidewalk―” she said as he neared. “Oh, correction: A cute guy on a bicycle riding on the sidewalk,” she said, turning to keep her eyes on him as he passed.
Nadia slouched her shoulders and let her smile fade when he glanced back and raised his left hand, revealing his wedding band. “Lucky woman you’ve got there, buddy; I hope she knows it.”
She took in a deep breath and exhaled, tilting her head back the more she exhaled. When her lungs were finally empty, Nadia was staring up at the top of one of many buildings that surrounded her. The building that she had just stepped out of, though it was just as tall as any of the others, seemed rather petite from the inside.
Inhaling another deep breath, Nadia caught the scent of hotdogs and perfume again. Then, she noticed the scent of aftershave and a milkshake. A child’s laughter pulled her attention from the skies above.
Walking toward her was a father who was clean-shaven and a little girl, maybe eight years old, holding a milkshake in one hand, her father’s hand was in the other. Nadia couldn’t help but show her appreciation when she saw the little girl look up at her daddy and smile.
“I love you, sweetheart,” the man said as they passed by.
“I love you, too, Daddy,” Nadia lipped in sync with the little girl.
She sighed when she realized that she was still staring at them. As soon as she turned her head away, thoughts of her own father leaving filled her mind. The warm, happy feeling that was there only moments before had been replaced by a saddening cold that sent a chill down her spine.
“Wa–Watch it! Watch it!” a man yelled as he continued passed her.
Nadia jumped backward and quickly found the wall of a building behind her. Thankfully, there was just enough room for her feet not to be run over by the dolly the man was pulling along. She shook her head unable to respond in time to be heard, for the second time.
“Suicide,” she whispered while watching the traffic pass by in the busy street. “Suicide,” she repeated in the same whisper. “Su-ic-ide. Why do you run–and–hide? You lock yourself away–from–the world! You’re but a–sin-gle–girl! ― Oh, suicide! ― There’s so much more to you than what meets–the–eye!” Nadia finished in song, realizing that she had attracted the attention of several passersby while completely lost in thought.
“Brilliant!” one man shouted before applauding.
“That was awesome!” a teenaged boy agreed with a wide smile.
“Very well done, my lady,” an older gentleman offered with a tip of his hat as he passed by her.
Nadia raised a hand to her mouth and covered half of her face as she politely curtsied for the crowd that had obviously enjoyed her short song. She curtsied again, glancing around the few faces that were remaining, then wiped a single tear from her eye.
A giggle began in the pit of her stomach, in the exact same spot the hatred for her father had settled. It grew over the course of seconds into a burst of laughter, seeming rather out of the ordinary for the people who were passing by her.
“Oh, sorry!” she laughed, offering a smile and a wave. “I’m just happy right now,” she added pointing at her face.
“Well, that’s quite obvious,” a man replied holding a cellphone against his chest.
“As well, you should be,” another voice yelled from across the street. “You’re alive and well!”
Nadia nodded her head and offered a wave, noticing that she also received a smile in return for her efforts. Then, she spun on her heel and inhaled a deep breath as she started toward the door that had gotten stuck.
The bounce in her step softened when she saw that heavy-set man standing beside a giant truck. She stared as she neared him, noticing his hat in one hand while the other wiped sweat from his face.
“Oh, you again?”
“Yeah,” Nadia replied as she stopped only a couple feet away from him. “Listen, I’m sorry about earlier. I’m a struggling writer and I’ve been having a bad day for the passed couple of days. I just couldn’t take it, anymore, I guess.”
The man’s smile widened and he nodded his head. “We’ve all been there, sweetheart. But, you gotta remember to keep your head up and keep your eyes, ears, and mind open, so each of them can pay better attention to what your heart’s telling you to do,” he quickly offered.
Nadia allowed her smile to widen as she began to nod in agreement.
“Just follow your heart and go after your dreams,” the man offered with half a grin. “Don’t be like me. I’ve passed up so many better jobs that I’m having a hard enough time keepin’ this lousy job. Now, the truck wants to be a pain in my rear-end. All the sudden, it broke down; no good reason,” he said as he kicked the tire.
“Well mister, I really do hope that your day brightens up. I sure know that you’ve helped to brighten mine,” Nadia said as she walked toward the contraption that had gotten stuck on the pavement.
“Hey, hold on,” he replied as he pulled a phone from his shirt pocket, his finger still in the air when Nadia pulled the door open. “Hah! That was old boss man. He told me to lock up the truck and leave it here. I’ve got the rest of the day off and I still get paid for it!”
“What good news! That’s awesome!” Nadia replied, offering a short applaud.
“Oh, you’re tellin’ me,” the man said as he pulled open the door of the truck. “Now, if I can make it in time, I should be able to watch my little girl act for the first time in her school play; she’s a little wood fairy or somethin’,” he explained before slamming the door closed. “You have a good one and take care!” he offered as he hurried down the alley.
Nadia stood there staring at him, a smile on her face. “You, too,” she said under her breath, sure that he wouldn’t have been able to hear even if she had screamed it. Then, she turned toward the open door awaiting her and walked back into the building, the bounce in her step returned to its rightful place.
This is what I ended up with after a proofread and a single edit. After reading over it a couple of times, I feel like there are still a few parts (at least) that could use a little work. However, I’ve left it this way because I’ve not been able to enhance the writing as a whole.
I may end up editing it sometime in the future, when I have the time to sit down and focus; I’m just not yet sure how. You’re welcome to read over it and leave any feedback that you would like.