Jarred by the sound of fists pounding the door of the next apartment, Christy stood and tightened her bathrobe belt. He’s back. I told Patty that restraining order wouldn’t keep that son-of-a-bitch away… .
She opened her door enough to see the hallway.
Carl, Patty’s stocky husband, red-faced, continued beating the door. “Open this goddamn door, you bitch or I’m gonna kick it in!"
He’s going to kill her someday unless someone stops him.
Carl turned when he saw her. “What are you lookin’ at? Mind yer own fuckin’ business!”
“She’s not home, Carl… ”
He kicked the door “Open the door now or I’m gonna break yer fuckin’ neck!” He glanced back at Christy. “What are ya staring at? Get out-a here… .”
Face suddenly draining of color, dark deep-set eyes glazed, he sank to his knees. “No… . Wait…don’t go… . Help me…I can’t breathe… .” He grasped at the doorknob but slid to the floor. “Jesus…my heart… . Call someone… . Hurry…I hurt bad… ”
Christy moved closer to Carl; his face now ashen…waxy. She smelled whiskey.
“Who should I call?”
Hands clutching chest, Carl didn’t answer.
“You want me to call an ambulance?”
Carl quivered…spittle bubbled at parted lips.
She watched for a minute, thought about the CPR class she’s taken six years earlier. I can’t remember…
“Carl…can you hear me?”
She watched him for another minute. He didn’t move.
She nudged him with the toe of her slipper. "Wait for the ambulance, Carl. You shouldn’t have gotten so angry… ”
When she was sure Carl wasn’t breathing, Christy returned to her apartment, its silence so thick it rang. She lost track of time as she sat at her desk, thought about calling the police, but instead, paused… and then called 911.
* * *