I Shouldn't Have Smiled At Him by Carly Blackwell


I shouldn’t have smiled at him

My body would not stop trembling. It was just starting to rain heavily now. The water ran steadily off the edge of the top of the building. I tried to focus on that. But the water soon started to reach the dead body and the water pooled with the blood in the chest of my attacker. Next to the body, I watched the rain rinse the crimson blood off the tip of his pocketknife onto the concrete. The body that laid on the ground in front of me was barely moving. His eyes were closed. His chest continued to pool with blood and water, but I didn’t take a step. It didn’t register in my head what just happened. If I should check if he was alive or if I should call someone. My body felt anger, confusion, relief, but most of all, fear. All I could do was stare at the puddle of blood and water and his fist, which held a clump of my hair. I turned over and threw up on the side of the building.

I shouldn’t have taken the trash out. I thought it would take five minutes. I didn’t want to leave it till opening and it would make the whole back of the store smell. No one was ever around. I had no trouble with homeless people who lived around here. The dumpster was near a streetlight, it was in the back of the store. I thought I was being paranoid and I had to ignore that feeling. 

I should’ve called out earlier that night. I was tired, I needed to study, and I knew that Kevin wouldn’t stay to help close, he never did. But I needed the money. It was near Halloween and the holidays would come by fast.

I should’ve lied to the police two weeks ago. When they asked me if he had been aggressive or threatening, I should have said yes. I should’ve said his eyes were cold and piercing. I should’ve told them that he grabbed my arm, not my wrist. I should’ve told them that it hurt, not just that it was shocking and scary. I should have said that he threatened to hurt me instead of asking me to smile for him.

I should’ve changed jobs when I started noticing him a month ago. There was an opening at the diner, but I didn’t want to work as a waitress. I had heard horror stories and I didn’t think I would make enough to get buy. I would’ve had to pull back on some of my expenses which I’d already had to do. Tim convinced me that I was being paranoid. It was just a coincidence that he showed up while I was there. Every time I was there.  Too many murder docs, my brother said.

I shouldn’t have been so greedy. 6 weeks ago, when I had that great day, I should’ve celebrated by taking off work. I had wanted to. I had won $50 in a scratch off. I was going out with my friends that night. I had passed my midterm with flying colors, and it was Friday. I should’ve taken those wins and not thought that this extra money could go towards that stupid dress that I wanted.

I shouldn’t have smiled at him.


Carly Blackwell is currently a second-year MFA Creative Writing Fiction candidate at Saint Mary's College of California. She is currently working on a short story collection and on a Young Adult novel.

Image Credit: Alex Dukhanov / Unsplash


Popular Posts