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Life Story

Daily Prompt: Elevator – You’re stuck in an elevator with an intriguing stranger.

I yawned as the lift approached the third floor. Seven floors down and the damn thing had stopped at every floor. The third was no exception. I groaned inwardly as the doors slid open to reveal a short, grey-haired man. He tottered in, barely making it inside before the doors slid closed.

“Which floor?” I enquired as the lift began to move again, gesturing towards the buttons as he smoothed imaginary wrinkles out of his white linen suit.

He looked at me and smiled, his aged face crinkling even more (if that were possible), a glint in his surprisingly bright blue eyes.

The lift shuddered and ground to a halt.

The first flicker of fear trickled through me as I moved to the control panel. I wasn’t particularly claustrophobic, but I did harbour a secret fear of plummeting to my death. I jabbed at the buttons. Nothing. I pushed the alarm switch. Still nothing. Maybe it’s a silent alarm?

The man spoke.

“I remember when all this was trees and fields,” he said, gesturing expansively, moving his arms to encompass the entire lift.

“Right, yes,” I replied.

“Over here,” he continued, pointing towards the back wall, “was the lane I walked on my way to school.”

I looked at the wall and nodded, humouring him.

“When I went to school at all!” he cackled. “We often didn’t make it on hot summer days. You see that factory, just there?” He pointed to his left.

“Um, factory…?” I replied.

“That used to be a field, we played there on the hot summer days when we didn’t go to school,” he continued, ignoring me. “Ah, those were the days.”

I jabbed at the buttons on the control panel again. I was feeling more and more anxious. This guy seemed harmless enough, but he obviously wasn’t in complete control of his faculties.

“And over there,” he went on, “was the farm where I worked when I left school.” He was pointing to the right wall now. “As you can see, it’s an industrial estate now.”

I looked at the wall.

“An industrial estate, um, yes,” I replied.

“And there’s the park where I met my wife,” he went on, a faint smile on his face. “Fifty five years we were married.” He was staring at the wall, a wistful look in his eyes. “Fifty five years.”

Poor old guy. I wonder if he knows where he is? I wondered. There’s probably someone looking for him. He’s probably wandered off from assisted living.

“That was the church where I married my Masie.” He was looking at the wall to his right. “As you can see it’s still there. Not everything has changed.”

His tone turned sombre. “That was the church where I buried my Masie.”

He bowed his head and turned away, trying but failing to hide the tears which sprung into his eyes at the memory.

I hesitantly placed my hand on his shoulder and we just stood a moment as he relived old memories.

The lift started again with a jerk and I stood back, feeling awkward. A second later the doors slid open.

“This is me!” he exclaimed brightly and stepped out of the lift, all hint of sadness gone. I stared past him but could see only darkness. Maybe the power was out. Maybe that was why the lift was having problems. Maybe the stairs would be a better option. Besides, I couldn’t just let the poor old guy wander around all confused. I moved to follow him but the doors closed abruptly, forcing me to take a step backwards. They opened again immediately. Beyond was the familiar second floor, brightly lit. A couple of people were waiting to get on, seemingly unaware that the lift had been stuck between floors for the last five minutes.

I stepped out of the lift and looked down the corridor, first to the left and then to the right. There was no sign of the man.

“Excuse me,” I asked the couple as they moved past me into the lift. “Did you see which way that old chap in the white suit went?”

“I’m sorry, who?” asked one.

As the doors closed I saw their blank faces as they looked at each other, frowning in confusion.

  1. May 25, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    A life story spoken in a minute or two, but one that would stay with you for a lifetime. Great story!


    • May 25, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it and thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂


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