the kid outside the door
i go to do the laundry
although i’d rather be on the couch
drinking a beer
i promised myself no booze before noon
there is a kid
sitting outside my apartment door
he’s right there on the floor
just sitting there with his earbuds
in his ears
playing with his cell phone.
i wonder how long he’s been outside
my door, listening.
we have paper thin walls in this place.
i start thinking about what i could’ve said.
i know my wife and i made jokes
about her clothes
and the holes in my underwear.
i tried on new inserts for my shoes
and walked around complimenting their comfort.
christ, what if we’d have started fucking?
i look down at this kid
but he hasn’t noticed me yet.
my wife is inside our place getting a shower
so i remember to lock the door.
i drop the laundry basket and it tips over.
that’s when the kid looks up at me.
i’m glaring down at him
holding my apartment key between two fingers.
i think i look menacing
but the kid just nods and smiles.
he says “what’s up, dude?”
i tell him “nothing.”
nothing is up, dude.
then he goes back to listening to his music.
i check the door
make sure i locked it all right.
i pick up the laundry basket and begin
heading toward the elevator.
i must be getting old, i think.
the menacing glare
and key between the fingers used
to work almost all of the time.
kids these days.