After that first time I thought he would disappear like a wisp of smoke from one of the cigarettes that he liked to smoke after every meal. But my hopes that I would never see him again were short lived as he came back the next day. Each time he visited he would knock in the same way, sometimes just to drop something off, like a book or a movie, and other times he would knock and sit out in the hallway and talk to me through the door. We didn’t usually have long thought provoking conversations, at first he would just come and tell me the mundane details of his day so far. Sometimes he would intercept my lunch orders and deliver them like he had the first time but I still would close the door in his face. Every once in a while he would have his own food and would sit and talk to me while we both ate.  During those weeks that we talked through the door I came to realize that maybe the man in the hallway wasn’t the big bad monster that I believed he was. He was observant, confident, easy going. He would crack jokes like he could tell that I had just put my fork in my mouth, when I was having a particularly bad day he always knew the right thing to say to make it bearable. It was on one of those days that as I listened to his voice I was overcome with a need to touch him. My fingers itched but I had to restrain myself from throwing open the door. I wasn’t going to surrender just yet. 

“You’re sad.”

“How can you tell?”

“You’re being quiet.”

“Is that how you always know?”

The End

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