some fall in love. i shatter.

Divides Great And Small (#42)

In Stories Volume 2 on February 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm


“Didn’t I say not to hit the ‘Door Open’ button?”

“If you did, I didn’t hear it.”

“This elevator is shit – it gets jammed like this every month. You’ll need to use the callbox to get a technician to come out.”

“I see it here.” Exasperation crowded his voice.

“These apartments were built in 1922 – I don’t think they’ve done much to improve the elevators since then.” She tried injecting a lilt into her voice to lift him a little but it traveled neither far nor well.




“How long did they say?”

“Maybe sixty but probably closer to ninety minutes.”

“That’s about normal around here. At least I can hear you through this gap.”

“I think I can almost fit my hand through it…”

“No! That can’t be safe! What if the door suddenly shuts?”

“Has that ever happened?”

“Not that I know of but… you know, it could.”



“So I guess dinner’s off.”

“I just emailed the restaurant to cancel the reservation.”

“We’ll need to eat at some point though. I could make us something once you get out of there.”

“Do you cook?”

“I love to cook. And more importantly, I’m good at it. Plus I just went grocery shopping this weekend, so my kitchen’s stocked.”



The silence, with no offsetting visual, stretched out wider and taller than it should have, filling the hallway and the elevator shaft. He cleared his throat and they both felt a little echo tremor through the space.

“I just wanted to spend time with you, get to know you.” She smiled at the earnestness in his voice. “That’s sort of the point of the first date, right?”

“We can still do that here. There isn’t much to do but talk.”



“What are your top three movies?”

“Isn’t that sort of a clichéd question?”

“It’s not clichéd when you’re getting to know someone. It can say a lot about a person. If you said all three Madagascar movies, I’m not sure we could continue this conversation.”

“I didn’t know there were three Madagascar movies. I’m not even positive I know what a Madagascar movie is.”



“2008, for work.”

“You just knew you wanted to work in San Francisco, or you had the job before coming here?”



“I was in Austin for eight years. I managed a bar, kind of by accident.”

“How do you manage a bar by accident?”

“I had just gotten my business degree and couldn’t find a job anywhere, so I ended up spending a lot of time at this bar, Black Star. I became the regular there and after three months of drinking away most of my money and not finding any work, the manager, Kylie, left the job. She gave me a perfunctory interview and I stayed the next six years.”



“I gave up drinking for two years straight. I just felt like it was taking over my life a little too much.”

“Do you consider yourself an alcoholic?”

“No. I came back to it and I don’t think I ever needed it. It wasn’t a full-on dependency, just something that I turned to too much and then decided to turn off.”



“Your eyes are blue? I thought they were green.”



“I first met Karen… six months ago? We were in the same spin class at my gym. You’ve known her for a long time right?”

“We were neighbors a few years ago – moved in the same day actually. I don’t know that we would have met or become friends otherwise. The building had these social events every now and then but they were weird. Karen and I would go for laughs. Wait, you were in a spin class?”



“How long has it been?”

“Just over an hour.”

“So soon?”


“The time’s actually gone by pretty fast.”

“I know, right? I could hang out like this longer.”

“You’re not the one stuck in the box.”

“Well I’m not going anywhere. I’m stuck in the hallway for as long as you’re stuck in the box. I’m right here” Stuck inside the box, he smiled silently.



“That seems like a rather brazen question.”



“I can just barely reach my hand through the crack here.” In the hallway, she saw four fingers edging through the opening until stopping at the last knuckle.

“You shouldn’t be doing that. What if the door suddenly closes?”

“It’s not that dangerous,” and she wrapped her thin fingers around his.



“Alright, bud; I’ll have you outta there in just one minute.”

“It isn’t hard to fix?”

“To fix? To fix takes time and money, to get you out only takes a minute.”



The door retracted smoothly under the strength of the technician and Charles stepped out swiftly as if the floor had been laced with burning coals. The maroon carpeting and moss green walls that he’d laughingly called old-fashioned not that long ago had since become inviting. Elizabeth smiled to see his face again in the soft yellow light of the wall sconces, safely removed from all restrictions. She took his strong arm, the extension of those fingers she had clung to just a few minutes earlier, and pulled him into an embrace, whispering words into his ear, her lips hovering in the closest atmosphere around his skin. Charles reentered her apartment while Elizabeth lingered to share a few words with the technician, shifting back and forth on her tan boots. He responded without looking at her, his hands and attention probing the black gaps of the elevator, and after a moment or two, she left him to his work and closed her front door behind her. The white wood closed firmly, separating two worlds from each other.



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