Breakfast

Ross lived alone. He had a two-bedroom apartment, because that’s all he could find when he’d been searching for a place to move quickly. He had thought about getting a roommate, but he hadn’t made any friends yet in the city and the thought of finding a stranger to share a living space with made him beyond nervous. After all, it had never gone well in college, and there, at least, there was a system in place to help him if it went poorly.

No, Ross lived alone, and he spent a lot of time alone, too: reading, playing single-player video games, and otherwise existing in his house. He wasn’t much of a social person anyway, he told himself. He didn’t need friends to be happy, and he got plenty of interaction at work. The job was worth it. The whole reason he’d moved here so quickly was because of it.

Ross wasn’t much of a cook, and there was nobody in the apartment to cook for him, so when he woke up to the sound and smell of bacon cooking, drifting down the hallway to his bedroom, this was cause for concern.

It took him a moment to realize what he was smelling. He hit the snooze button on his alarm, as he always did at least once, and turned over to go back to sleep for those precious five more minutes. Then he smelled the bacon. His apartment didn’t normally smell quite so good. He wouldn’t have said it smelled bad. He did clean regularly, after all. Yet he was not like his mother, whose home was always filled with the smell of candles and baked goods.

He thought, too, that he heard a sizzling. He blinked, stretched, and groaned, thinking that perhaps he was still partially asleep. He yawned, which filled his ears with a thunderous rumbling. When it subsided, everything was quiet, but he still smelled the bacon.

He didn’t think to be nervous. It was just bacon. He rolled himself out of bed, not even thinking to dress himself. He wore only the underwear in which he slept. He kept his blinds drawn at all times. He liked sunlight, and looking outside, but the thought of people looking into his house filled him with anxiety.

When he came to the corner at the end of the hallway which led into the kitchen, he saw something that immediately caused him to backpedal. There was a plate sitting on the counter, on the peninsula portion at which he’d placed stools as though people other than just him at there.

He leaned forward, keeping as much of his exposed body as he could hidden behind the corner of the wall. He couldn’t see anyone, and he should have been able to, if someone was there. The kitchen and living space occupied one open room, separated only by different flooring and the kitchen counter peninsula.

“Hello?” he called. “Is anybody there?”

No answer. He hadn’t expected one. He peeked out a bit further, but he still saw no hint that anyone was there, other than the plate on the counter. They could be hiding behind the counter or the counter itself, he supposed.

He padded toward the kitchen, muscles tense and ready to react in case someone jumped out at him. The kitchen was empty. There were wet dishes in his sink, which had apparently been cleaned.

The food was on one of his own plates. Two slices of bacon, scrambled eggs with pepper and cheese on top, a muffin, toast, and two thick slices of ham. Ross stared at it so hard that at first, he failed to notice the note that had been folded in half beneath the plate. He pulled it out.

Hey.

You don’t know me, and I don’t really know you. I know that this is incredibly weird and forward. I’ve always been weird and forward. It’s just sort of who I am. I don’t mean that as an excuse. I just know you have to be wondering why someone made you breakfast.

I’ve been a bad person for a while Not like, cruel, or anything. Not intentionally. I just don’t pay enough attention to people. My mom. My friends. My boyfriend. That’s why he left me. So I’m trying to get better about that.

I noticed that you don’t really seem to eat breakfast. You always have, like, a protein bar or whatever. I thought, well, I noticed that. I’m paying attention to someone. I should act on it. I should do something nice for someone.

I guess don’t really expect me to do it again. I feel super weird about it and I was so anxious you’d wake up and find me in your kitchen and be super freaked out. I’m sure you’re still freaked out but at least this way I don’t have to see it and I can just try to focus on the fact that I tried to do something nice for someone. In my own way.

In my own weird, creepy, forward way…

Well, anyway. I hope you like it. I bought the stuff fresh and I left what I didn’t cook in your fridge. I guess I thought that would help convince you it isn’t poisoned, but you didn’t see me open it or cook it so, uh, just trust me, I guess. I guess it’s dumb to say that.

ANYWAY if this brings you even a sliver of happiness I’ll be satisfied.
— R.

Ross’s first question was how someone had gotten into his apartment. He checked the door. It was locked. He even opened it, taking care to keep most of his body hidden behind it, to see whether he could tell if someone had tried to pick the lock. He had no idea how to tell.

He then went around his apartment checking to see that everything he could think of was still in place. His wallet was there. He didn’t notice any missing video games. His laptop was still in the second bedroom, which he used like an office. As far as he could tell, all this person had touched was the stuff in the kitchen they had needed to cook.

Ross sat down in front of the food. His stomach rumbled. This was probably the weirdest thing that had ever happened to him. He’d heard about people doing random acts in order to be kind, but this was on another level. Someone had broken into his apartment just to make him breakfast. Someone had paid close enough attention to him to realize that he didn’t really eat a good breakfast most days.

He decided to eat the food, consequences be damned. He didn’t have any enemies, and nobody had a reason to hurt him unless there was a weird, breakfast-making sociopath out there who didn’t need a motivation other than their own twisted desires.

It tasted good. It had cooled down someone, during Ross’s hesitation, but that was alright. It was far better than what Ross normally ate. He appreciated it, in a weird way, though he still felt awkward about the fact that someone had gotten into his apartment and left no signs of it other than what they’d meant for him to find.

When he finished, he wrote his own note on blank piece of paper, in bold maker.

Thank you.

He taped it to his door, then got himself ready for work. When he left, he made doubly certain that he had locked his door.

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