Elevator Guy

I missed a fiction workshop due to some unavoidable circumstance. But I continue to remember my obligation to myself to write stories, anyway. If I cannot do a full manuscript, I can at least write snippets of a story and see where that takes me. Well, here’s a snippet of fictional figments that do manage to come out.

***

As I stood beside him by the elevator, a thousand lame socially awkward remarks had to be stifled from flying out of my mouth. A very difficult seminar is just about the last place I expected to awaken some romantic feeling, but here I am anyway, the walking irony. To make it more precise, I am the walking mess with my ruggedly unflattering get-up.

Allow me to explain. I was expecting a bunch of non-talking people who are deeply engrossed in their craft of weaving code. So I did not necessarily put together the most stylish get-up in my closet. Shockingly, I ended up looking at good-looking hipsters with nice smiles and who are unnervingly conversational, breaking all my mental social stereotypes of what an attendee of a difficult seminar should look like. And one particular guy had this boy-next-door vibe going with him that I suddenly had genuine girly feelings for. Screw speed dating, hun. This is the new hive of the hotties.

I had all the consciousness emanating from my stressed out brain, which tried hard to catch up to the concepts, and my appearance which ceased to be cool enough the moment that I saw him. Was it his smile, or his neatly pressed shirt, or just the way he said hello? I could not number the ways but I was thoroughly mesmerized to the point of not having anything substantial coming out every time. I could have grabbed a glass of water at the same time that he did and struck up a conversation smoothly during breaktime. I could have joked, like I often do with my friends. But I could not even open my poor frozen mouth to say a decent hi.

He ran his hand through his hair, which was just about the right amount of curly. He heaved a sigh of exhaustion, the same sigh that a dozen other participants have exhaled in this same tiny spac.e

I wish I wore something else. I wish I could say something at the elevator. I wish I can overcome my stymied stance when he’s around. And I wish I’d at least exist in a positive way so that he will remember me. I wish he’s single… And I wish that I can converse like a normal person so that I can subtly ask him if he’s single.

At the very least, I did not have an asthma attack in the few seconds that we were together in this elevator box. I was breathing deeply and it felt like butterflies were invisibly flying under my shirt. This is not the way I rehearsed I would act under such a circumstance. The floors started going down from 30… 29… 28… 27. Ground is slowly nearing, halting my brief encounter with this stranger. I need to do something fast.

My mind started racing. After his sighing moment, he suddenly became aware that he was not alone on the elevator. He looked sideways and flashed his pearly whites. Blinding. This guy has to stop doing that, seriously. I wonder how many hazards he has caused from his sheer existence.

He opened his mouth, seemingly with an attempt to strike up some small talk but changed his mind and went back to looking at the elevator buttons.

At floor 12, I started breathing more heavily, like a giant cat was suddenly wedged in my chest.

Not now, I thought in sheer panic. This was not the place or time to have a full-blown panic attack. I felt my face started flushing scarlet.

Hearing my annoyingly untimely wheezes, he turned around and looked at me with a frown of concern.

No, no, no…. rewind this moment. This is not how I wanted this guy to remember me. He is slowly reaching out his hand and this heightened my mounting fearful feelings. Some words were coming out of his mouth but I could not make sense of it.

A few more seconds and I felt myself despairingly succumbing to what comes next in the absence of my trusty brown paper bag: the darkness of passing out.