Knocking on the stark white door, the sound echoed off the glass walls of the hall. The stairway and railings leading to the upper floors of the apartment building were silver and stainless, the steps seeming like floating slabs of marble stone. I pulled the black coat I wore snugly around me, feeling cool air emanate from the cold, futuristic, and calculated architecture.
The door squeaked as a woman opened it. Her black sweater fit to her slightly heavy-set body just as her flared denim jeans did her legs. A broken smile played on her lips along with her sore, red eyes slightly wet with fresh tears. She didn’t speak.
“Can I come in, ma’am?” I asked politely. The sorrowful woman stepped back and opened the door wider, nodding.
I stepped into the living room which was just as futuristic and modern as the outside of her apartment. “I just wanted to know a little bit about your husband, if that’s okay with you, ma’am? We’re hoping it will help us find out who did this to him.”
“That’s fine,” her voice broke, clearly unused for a long while. She swiped her tears as soon as they fell, clearly trying to get a hold of herself.
My chat with her felt uneasy at first, making slow progress, but I managed to get a few details about her husband’s workplace and the places he traveled for work out of town. Towards the end of our conversation, she seemed more open and relaxed.
“Mommaaaaaa!” a tiny, little boy with dark hair just like his mom’s and tiny, little shoes to go with his tiny, little stature, came zooming through the living room, holding a toy robot high above his head, pretending it could fly through the air.
“Hi, honey,” the woman cooed, “Why don’t you go to the kitchen? Momma will be there to make you a snack in a minute.”
His toothy grin widened from ear to ear as he waddled his way to the kitchen across the hall.
“He and I didn’t have our son when we first moved to this city,” the woman smiled softly, reminiscing. “He was still my fiance when we looking for an apartment here in downtown and he fell in love with the buildings.”
“That’s very sweet,” I let myself indulge her momentarily.
“He and I went to the rooftop of a parking lot one day and there was this big, unoccupied space right next to it,” she sniffled and paused before continuing. “He looked at me and said, ‘This spot has potential, babe. Don’t be surprised if, in the next five years, there’ll be a skyscraper.’ Becoming an architect was his biggest ambition, his biggest dream.” The sweet expression on her face made my heart unwillingly melt. I knew it was required of me to remain professional, but something about this woman broke down those walls.
She looked at me for a moment as if waiting for me to say something. All that came out of me was a seemingly cold, “Well, thank you for your time, ma’am. I should get going then, my partner said he might have a lead,” as my phone lit up with a text from Sulley.
“If there’s anything else you need, his belongings, anymore information,” the woman listed, “Don’t hesitate to ask.”
“Thank you ma’am, your assistance is much appreciated,” I said as I stood up and made my way to the door. She followed me to open the front door and as I took a step outside, she leaned on the door frame, crossing her arms over her chest. “Did he build the skyscraper?” she asked. I turned around to look at her over the threshold. “By the parking lot on Commerce?”
I racked my brain to remember which one she was referring to, then I saw it vividly in my mind, the silver and glass skyscraper looming high above, casting shadows over the surrounding buildings. “Yes, I believe he did, actually. They just finished it a few months ago.” I felt myself giving her a soft smile.
And with that, the woman simply nodded and closed the door to her apartment.