Ding. The elevator arrived at last. Its large shiny metallic double doors inched slowly apart. I could still see parts of my reflection. My blue pin striped suit reflected well off the doors. A gold tie with blue triangles hung perfectly off my neck. The halves of the door tore apart my well groomed face, blue eyes, and short brown hair as it neared closer to being fully open. This process took forever.
Ding. The doors opened all the way.
I wore brown leather shoes. They were perfect. I took careful, well placed steps toward the back of the elevator. I could not feel the transition from the white, marbled floor to the black carpet. I reached the back left corner. I turned around.
The elevator operator wore a red uniform. The words “Dynasty” were printed on the front of his shirt. A piece of gold colored metal spelled his name, Preston. Two pens and a calculator filled the front pocket of his shirt. His black tie was too short. Behind his thick, dark prescription glasses, I could see brown eyes. Long hair that was poorly groomed failed to successfully hide the pimples on his face. I looked toward him, but only with my peripheral vision. He did the same. Silence.
A heavy smell of perfume filled my nostrils. I turned my head slightly to the right. She was beautiful. She wore dark red high heels. They complemented her curves. Toned, tanned legs rode elegantly up toward the hem of a short, black skirt. The bottom of it rested several inches above her knees. And it she looked great in it. A low cut, white blouse showed her ample cleavage. Her left arm was fully sleeved with tattoos, which extended to the top of her shoulder. She wore no wedding ring. Dark black hair flowed flawlessly around her gorgeous face. Some how, I knew her name. Nikki. I viewed her with my eyes down. She did the same. Silence.
Preston pushed the number nineteen. An amber light took its time to display that the instruction was captured. For the first time, Preston looked me in the eyes. I nodded my head in approval. His eyes wavered back toward the floor. The elevator let out a low rumble. Beneath my feet, it felt like a miniature earthquake. The elevator started to head for the nineteenth floor.
It seemed like five minutes passed before we cleared the first floor. Why this happened, I do not know. In fact, the long ride gave me ample time to ponder this question to no avail. However, I do know that a heavy burden of awkwardness filled every corner of that elevator. My eyes continued to look beyond Preston and Nikki, but I still saw them. They did the same and they still saw me.
A slow, mechanical click chimed as we passed the seventh floor. The awkwardness was still there. I knew these two. But I did not know them. I pondered this. It felt like I was at a high school reunion, with two classmates that I never talked too. Three strangers, perfect in their own way, yet we knew each other. I sensed they were pondering something similar.
The mechanical click chimed again. Floor thirteen. I set my mind to the task of starting small talk. It never happened. I looked at Nikki. I said in my head “Hey, how are doing today?” Those words never reached my lips. I looked at Preston and thought, “Long day?” Again, these words failed to find my lips. My thoughts turned to the time this elevator ride was taking. I was anxious for this to be over. They were anxious.
The mechanical click chimed for the last time. Floor nineteen. Thank God. The metallic doors inside of the elevator were dull. Our reflections still showed. The door opened slowly. Three reflections were being torn apart at the time. I stepped forward. The doors rested in the open position. I took three steps onto the white, marbled floor. I turned around. Preston and Nikki were not there. I was not shocked. I was relieved. The doors closed. It reflected a singular, perfect image.