Will an encounter with his crush in an elevator lead to romance? (3 minute read, 500 words).
He stood waiting for the elevator. The school kids sprawled out over the polished concrete tables of the food court, screeching like seagulls at the beach. French fries and burger wrappers were scattered across the floor.
Centre management always turned the airconditioning off at five o’clock sharp to save money on the electricity bill. He felt the familiar, unwanted prickle of sticky heat where his shirt gathered at his neck. He stood watching the small orange light move up the floor numbers above the lift door.
Every day when he left work, he passed the doughnut shop and saw the girl with the piercings and the tattoo of a flower on her arm. She had pink hair one week and, white the next, today it was brown. She always had big blue eyes and a big belly that looked soft and kissable. Sometimes she wore band t-shirts. Sometimes he saw her smile and a sweet feeling rose up in him like a flower blossoming inside his throat.
And then he would drive home through the night and he would turn the radio up so loud that he couldn’t hear anything but the music, not even the wind rushing through the open window or the crickets screeching out their nighttime song and he would let the sound fill every part of him and he would be so full up that he wouldn’t feel alone anymore.
The elevator doors opened.
“Hey wait up” a voice called out from behind him.
He turned and saw a figure running towards him, the doughnut girl, holding a bright pink box.
“Sorry,” she said.
She stood next to him for a moment, catching her breath and then walked into the lift.
He walked in beside her and saw that the pink box was full of cinnamon doughnuts. He could smell them and the smell made him want to close his eyes.
The girl saw him looking.
“Would you like one?” she asked.
“I can’t eat doughnuts. They make me sick,”
“Oh,” she said, “that’s a shame”.
He was filled with all the things he wanted to say, that you can’t say when you’re stuck in an almost place, like an elevator. He hadn’t talked to anyone for months, not really talked. He wanted to say “I think I love you but I can’t ever date anyone again because I’m terrible at relationships” or “doughnuts have gluten and that triggers my IBS really badly and makes me constipated for days” or “I’m afraid of dying and I want to live every moment as fully as possible, but I don’t know how” but instead he said, “thank you anyway”.
The lift stopped abruptly, a chime sounded, the door opened. The girl readjusted the strap of her bag over her shoulder and swapped the doughnut box from one hand to the other. She looked like she wanted to say something. She stood for a moment in the doorway.
“Any time,” she said and walked out of the elevator.