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The Ordinary Man and The Woman With Music
He walked up to his apartment and inserted his key into the lock, like he did every day. And like he did every day, he stopped and listened to the music coming from the apartment across from his. His head bopped along with a few notes. He recognized it today. Johnny Cash. Good musician; he used to have some of his albums.
He unlocked the door and dropped his things on the couch. He could still feel the vibrations of the music as he walked into his kitchen.
He’d only been living in the apartment for a month, but he was already used to the strange pattern that accompanied it. The first day he moved in, he heard her singing outside his door, in tune with the music, and he heard a dog’s barking response, but by the time he opened his door, she already closed her own. Within a few seconds he started to hear the opening notes to Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon. Every day it was the same: when he came home at three, music would already be streaming from her apartment. It would continue playing until it shut off at exactly six o’clock. Every day it was a different CD; everything from Mozart to Pink Floyd. He had yet to hear one repeated. It was a steady pattern that he found he enjoyed.
So their pattern continued for the rest of the month, The Ordinary Man and The Woman With Music.
Sometime near the end of the second month, he came home and noticed something was wrong.
There was no music.
This had half-happened before. He’d come home and thought there was no music, but it turned out that whatever she was playing that day was quiet.
But today was different. He could somehow feel it. There was no music coming from the apartment.
His key already in the lock, he started arguing with himself. Finally, he sighed. He took out his key and stuck it in his pocket. He turned around and knocked on the door of 2D.
There was a pause where he chided himself for overreacting when she had just stepped out, but then he heard a faint “Come in.” He reached out and turned the knob and let himself in.
Her apartment was a mirror image of his own. The kitchen was to the right, a small hallway to the back. Nothing exceptional, except for the living room to the left. Along the back wall, impossible to miss, was a wall of CDs. From the floor to the ceiling, an impossible amount of CDs rested on small white shelves that looked as if they would break at any moment. There must’ve been at least a thousand. He drew his eyes away from the wall and looked down at the girl on the couch to his left.
Her light brown hair was falling out of her ponytail. Her hands absentmindedly stroked the head of her dog while her eyes gazed at the wall.
She glanced up at him, her brown eyes holding a sad realization. She lifted her hand to gesture to the wall, and she smiled sadly.
“I’ve run out.”