“Can I help you, miss?” I asked nervously.
She sighed heavily in relief.
“You live on this floor, I hope?” She inquired softly.
“I sure hope I do; got keys, furniture, and rent.”
“Which apartment do you live in? I think Gloria gave me the wrong key.”
“I live in apartment 27.” I walked closer to her and stood in front of the door to my apartment. I pointed my index finger toward the door, and prepared to get out my keys.
“See, my key doesn’t open the door to apartment 25.” She demonstrated that the key would not permit the door to open.
“Did you want to come inside my apartment? Figure it out later? Can’t stay out her alone, and you look exhausted.” I said sincerely.
A surprised look came on her face. She contemplated my question for a moment, and slightly nodded to me in compliance. A small smirk came upon her face. I opened the door to my apartment, and I picked up her trunk with my left hand and motioned with my right for her to go in before me. She proceeded slowly into my living room, and I followed her inside and shut the door behind me.
The small dim of light from the sun was slowly coming in through the balcony window. The rain persisted, and gray overcast clouds covered the New York sky. I set the trunk down by the front door, removed my jacket and belongings, and sat down at my kitchen table. She removed her scarf and sat down on the opposite of me. It was quiet for a moment. The pat-pat of the rain continued, and I breathed slowly in and out, exhausted.
“Thank you.” The woman whispered quietly.
“You don’t need to thank me, its fine. Do you want to get some rest? You can sleep in my bedroom if you like, I’ll stay out here on my small loveseat. I don’t sleep a lot anyway.”
“What’s your name?” She asked solemnly.
“Vincent.” I replied. “And yours?”
“Victoria.” She said. She was staring right at me. I felt some sort of negative vibe within myself that inclined me to not look at her in any way; I stared at the middle of the kitchen table.
“What is your profession?” I inquired.
“I am studying to be a schoolteacher.” She whispered.
“Didn’t answer my question.” I replied.
“Oh, you mean my line of work right now?” She asked. A look of slight guilt came upon her face. “I don’t know whether to tell you the truth or lie to you.”
I looked up at her. I stared into her face for just a moment, and looked back down at the table.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to embarrass you, Victoria. You don’t have to respond if you don’t want to.”
“I’m a prostitute…” She replied quietly. We both looked down at the table in silence. I didn’t know how to respond.
“Did you want some coffee or anything?” I asked apologetically.
A small grin came upon her face.
“No thanks.” She replied sweetly. “You know, you’re the only man in my personal life that hasn’t judged me the second I revealed myself to be an escort.”
I looked up and stared into her eyes for a moment.
“I am only but a man.” I replied softly. We stared at each other a little longer, and then she got up from the table, looked back behind her toward my bedroom, smiled slightly at me, and continued toward my bedroom. She opened the door and went inside, but left it slightly ajar. I contemplated in silence what she was asking of me. I stared at the ground, and then got up and moved toward my cushion loveseat in the living room. I sighed a heavy sigh, stared at my bedroom door, and slowly fell asleep. I remember the light of the sun was shining dimly through my balcony window, and the rain had stopped. It was quiet, and there was peace.