By Chef reptargomosh
He’s been standing there for a few weeks. There’s always something comforting about him standing there.
I noticed him one day when I came home from work. I tossed my keys into the old ashtray that held some useless coins and a ring I had no need for. I took my shoes off. I grabbed a bottle from the fridge and headed towards the couch. He didn’t startle me. He didn’t wave to me. He just stood there.
“What are you doing here?”
“Who are you?”
I went to bed.
The following morning there was a dirty spot where the man stood. I searched the house for some cleaning supplies, because I wasn’t giving my landlord a reason to not give me back my security deposit.
Two minutes of scrubbing turned into twenty. Then forty-five. Then the sun set. It was time for a drink. I was hungry.
With food on its way, and a beer in my hand, I found myself back on the couch. I found him standing where he stood the night before.
“Why are you here?”
“Are you ever going to answer me?”
The doorbell rang.
I never was a big fan of Chinese food. I’d gotten sick as a young boy when my grandmother took me to a Chinese buffet and let me eat an unhealthy amount of food, topped off with an ice cream float. I asked the man in the corner if he wanted to join me. They had sent an extra set of chopsticks. I hadn’t ordered for two in about six months.
The man in the corner just stared.
This went on for another week. Every night he was there. Every morning, another dirty spot on the carpet where he stood.
I started Googling everything I could think about to try and find answers. Every website had an answer for me, just not the answer that I was looking for. If the man that stood in the corner showed up tonight, I would confront him. It was obvious he didn’t want to answer my questions. But tonight, he needed to tell me something.
I was almost asleep when his figure captured my eye. It wasn’t even ten seconds before I was standing face to face with him.
“Who are you?” I asked. I felt my voice deepening. I felt the urgency of the phrase hit its mark.
“I need to know why you are here!!”
I raised my hand up. If this figure wasn’t going to respond to the tone of my voice he was going to answer to the harsh sting of my hand across his cheek. I started to swing.
He caught my hand in his.
I felt his hot breath on my ear. He smelled of sulfur.
“She told me to never let you fall asleep alone.“
I haven’t acknowledged the man in the corner for a few days now. It’s comforting to see him there. I have a lot of questions for him. But I’m not sure I need to know the answers.