On floor six the elevator doors opened and I saw that a man was already inside. I looked around for signs saying two was too many, but he moved to the side so I figured it was fine. I tucked myself into the opposite side and we rode down together like magnets repelling, pushed to our corners of the descending box.
At floor three the doors opened and an old lady entered, slowly with a limp and a leopard print mask. She glanced at me first and then at the man, then turned to face the doors as they squeaked their way closed. The light from above caught the red in her hair, grey roots emerging to crown her head.
She sighed. “Things aren’t like they used to be,” she said to the doors or to us or to herself.
It sounded true enough so I felt myself nodding and the man said “that’s right”, while his eyes met mine in the space behind her head, crinkled crow’s feet telling me he was smiling. My cheeks brushed fabric as I smiled back.
The old lady moved closer to the crack between the doors. “Things will never be like they used to be,” she said.
My eyes shifted to her head, to where red turned to grey. I wondered how many years used to be was in her life. I imagined the years stacked like the bricks of a house. Never hung between us like a stilled wrecking ball.
This time the man had no response, or if he did, I didn’t hear. We stopped at ground level and the old lady exited. I followed behind her without glancing his way, just keeping my distance, feeling how easily they both fell away.
Andrea Lynn Koohi is a Canadian writer with recent work appearing or forthcoming in Pithead Chapel, trampset, Cleaver Magazine, filling Station, Sunlight Press, Lost Balloon and others. Follow her on Twitter @AndreaKoohi