On The Landing
She woke to the sound of the door closing lightly. He was trying to be quiet and get away before she woke. This was nothing new to her, after all, it was the fourth time in the last few months that she had fallen asleep with her arms around a man only to wake alone. It wasn’t that she was a loose woman, she just needed the attention. She craved it, fed on it, longed for it. It never lasted.
When she was a young girl she vied for the attention of men without even knowing why. As she grew older she realized that she had a way of getting men’s attention. When they gave it to her, she felt alive, like she mattered. It wasn’t as though she were a sad, depressed woman either. She laughed and joked. Her and her friends, and she had a lot of friends, were the life of the party. If there wasn’t a party they made one. She knew how to get into the best clubs and smile her way into back stage passes. She was rather happy with her life. Except for those dark, lonely times when she would wake at four in the morning wondering why her father had abandoned them. Her mother had never been much more than a provider to her. She was not neglected, but she was not nurtured either. By the time she was twelve her mother insisted on being called Ann and not mom. Ann never spoke about her father. One time she asked what had happened to him. “You were too much for him. He couldn’t handle being a father, so he left”. That was it, simple, short, and nothing for her to be concerned about. Yet…
Over the years many people had told her that all the men in her life were only shadows of her father. They said she was trying to find him in the men she brought home. She thought that was ridiculous. How could she find a man she had never met, nor knew anything about? Other people said she was, promiscuous, slutty, a tramp. Those were the jealous ones. She was none of those things. Those words described the whores at the clubs. She wasn’t one of those girls. “Those girls are just in it for the sex. I’m searching for Mr. Right, and who buys a car without taking it for test drive, right?”
She wanted nothing more than to have one man love her. One man that would be hers, and hers alone. This one had gotten her hopes up. He had taken her out for a very nice dinner on Friday. They had made love until the early morning. He held her close and told her things she wanted to hear. He told her things about himself that she thought he would not have told just anyone. They went for a picnic on Saturday and made love in the lake while the stars came out. Sunday they loved, and talked, and held each other until they were both exhausted and fell asleep in each other’s arms.
As the door latched and he began to walk down the hall she decided, “Not this time.” She sprang out of bed and threw on the lingerie that she had worn for him the night before. It was cold at 4 a.m. in September, so she threw on a coat that was lying on the back of the couch, and headed down the stairs to catch him. She made it to the second floor landing just in time to see the headlights of his car come on. He would be gone by the time she made it to the parking lot, so she stopped and watched him drive away. His left headlight was at an awkward angle and it shown up into the window covering her in a sickly, yellow light, and then was gone along with another hope. She leaned back against the wall for a moment and mumbled, “He’s out there. I will find him one day.”
She headed back to her apartment and climbed into bed. Just before she fell asleep a thought sprinted through her mind, “Did I mean Mr. Right, or…my father?” She fell asleep before the thought made a return trip.
*Note: This story was inspired by a photograph I saw on Deviant Art. The image is of a young woman in lingerie standing in the stairwell of a rundown building. The lighting and mood of the photograph just screamed this story at me. Unfortunately I cannot post the photo or link to it from here. If you go to deviantart.com and search for Hard Sell you should be able to figure out which one it was, that is if you feel like it. It is a great photo and it would be nice to know if anyone thought my story fit the image. Thanks all.