Daily Prompt: Elevator
Fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator with an intriguing stranger. Write this scene.
Non-fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator with a person from your past. Write this scene.
It’s Wednesday evening, and I’m halfway across the world, in a city I had never been to, and really had no business being in, except it was for business, and who walks into the elevator. The woman who a decade earlier had diced and shredded her way through my heart.
It all started when Dave went bungee jumping last weekend for his thirtieth birthday. Everything appeared fine, all who attended had a great time, and there were even a lot of funny photo’s taken. Come Monday morning though, we find out he’s in the hospital with an indirect inguinal hernia. Turns out he had injured himself before and between the jump and the shenanigans afterwards he caused it to finally pop out. So he’s at home resting until the surgery next Wednesday, and I had the pleasure of a 17 hour flight on short notice. Normally on a flight this long, I would have slept, being one of the lucky people who can sleep anywhere. Not this time, instead I spent the flight getting acquainted with the customization of the software we had sold to the client. To make it worse I flew west across the dateline, and had a meeting where I felt like I have just run a marathon, uphill 26 miles along the north face of Everest.
So this afternoon after making it through the meeting with the clients, I decided to head back to the hotel before meeting the clients for dinner. Catching the express elevator down from near the top of the Republic Plaza, I was the only one in the car till the second last floor before the express through the lower part of the tower, the car stopped. A stunning lady in the typical Asian business dress that professional women there wear, and still make us guys look, and wearing sun glasses stepped into the elevator. The door closed and I was thinking about how long a nap I would be able to catch before dinner, when I faintly heard my name being called. It took a few seconds to register, that I wasn’t daydreaming. I looked towards her, the only other person on the elevator, and she had her sunglasses pulled up on to the top of her head.
I blinked once, twice, and yet a third time, and it was still her. There was no mistake it was her, ten years later and she still looked the same as the last time I saw her in Bangkok. It was the day I left Thailand, heading back to the west. The woman who was my wildest dreams, and worst nightmare all rolled up into one inscrutable package. I calmly said hello, I didn’t expect to see you here, with what I hoped was a genuine smile. For inside of me, it was like the last ten years hadn’t happened, it was 10 years, 3 months and five days ago, when we had the argument that caused her to say she didn’t love me anymore. It was all about acceptance and family traditions, and pride on both sides played a major part in our breaking up.
Now for those familiar with Thai culture and traditions would think, we argued over the sin-sod or marriage gift to her parents. This gift of money, gold and jewels is a tradition that is disappearing from Thailand, and being the liberated westerner I didn’t like the concept, as it smacked me of buying her from her parents. Yet I had willing accepted it, not because I agreed with it, but because I loved her, and if that was what it took for her to save face in her village, then that’s what we would do. Her parent’s didn’t ask for more than what was normal, and even offered to loan us the gold and jewels to be placed on the plate at the ceremony. No our argument was over whether I would adopt her daughter, or not. She didn’t want me to be obligated she said, and I wanted to have us as one family, as she would never be able to have another child. She had a tumor removed just after we met, and was determined to be western in being an equal in the marriage. I wanted to take care of her, and wasn’t worried about the financial side, as in one year I made what the average Thai worker would make in a lifetime.
However I digress, we arrived on the ground floor, and both stepped off the elevator. Moving to the side we chatted for a moment and decided to walk to the Starbucks on Beach Road, to catch up over coffee. Walking through the crowded sidewalks, we bumped into each other a few times, and once she grabbed my hand to avoid being knocked over by someone walking and texting at the same time. Was it my imagination or did she hold on longer than necessary to keep her balance. We arrived at the Starbucks, and without thinking I ordered what we always had back when we were together, prompting her to say “you remembered what I drink, I’m impressed.” I replied that she was the only one I ever met who ordered a tall triple shot vanilla latte, with soy in a short cup. We sat down and chatted about what we had done over the last decade. I told her I was still working in software, and she explained she was working with a major Thai bank in business development. after a little more chat about work, she quietly asked if I was still single? I told her I had recently broken up with someone, and emphasized that I wasn’t looking to date. She had started to smile then it turned into that moue she sometimes wore. As if she was remembering a bad memory, or expressing displeasure at my emphasis on not dating.
I then asked her, how her marriage was, not noticing till I had finished asking, that her wedding ring wasn’t on her finger. Not only it wasn’t there but there was no tan line, so it had been a while since it came off. She grimaced, and replied that her marriage had been a mistake, that she had only accepted his proposal because she had just turned thirty, and was feeling like an old maid at the time. He had been the first one, she dated after we broke up, and had treated her well, including a trip out of the country, and had seemed like a great guy. She then said they had divorced over two years ago, and she hadn’t dated since. I told her even though she was now forty she still looked twenty-nine which caused her to smile, and swat the back of my hand, just like the old days. She then said that she knew that she could only love one man, and she had lost him years ago to pride.
So we are meeting tomorrow for breakfast, and conversation. I am in a taxi heading to the L’Entrecote restaurant to meet with my clients for a celebration dinner, which will be interesting as I didn’t get that nap I needed, so I’m functioning on three hours sleep over the last two and a half days.
So I’ll leave it to you to decide fact or fiction?