The gate shut sharply behind me. I shivered, not knowing if it was from
anticipation or the blast of cold air that had smacked me as I walked into
the elevator. I turned around and faced the front of the cage. This would be
the last chance to change my mind and get off.
I was at the last phase of my journey. This was what Bill and I had planned
since I’d been diagnosed. I peered at all the people scurrying around trying
on jewelry on the main floor. Look at them, trying to cram life into a lunch
There are only seven elevators like this left in the civilized world that
still did destinations. I know this because Bill had tracked down each one
of them and sent me their locations before he disappeared.
“Mezzanine or Second Floor?” the elevator operator asked as he closed the
gate with his gloved right hand.
I have two choices; Past or Future. But which floor was which? I’ve been
trying to guess the answer for so long, ever since Bill had vanished. I must
pick the right one. I needed to get off on the same floor that Bill did.
“Mezzanine, please.” I responded. I tried to hide my anxiety. My heart was
beating so fast and loud, it may have drowned out my answer. Mesmerized, I
watched as his hand applied light pressure to the top of the hand clutch.
The elevator began its upward thrust.
A voice from behind bellowed, “Don’t you stop at the first floor? I need to
return these earrings at customer service.”
I stood frozen in terror; too petrified to turn around. The elevator
operator stared past me, speaking firmly to the man behind me.
“Sir, this elevator only goes to the Mezzanine or Second Floor. Weren’t you
told that by the gentleman outside the door?”
“No, He appeared to be otherwise occupied. Look, I’m on my lunch hour and I
promised my wife I’d return these Paloma Picasso’s for her. They’re yellow
gold and she wanted white.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing; this man was going to ruin
everything. This elevator only ran twice a year. It had taken me months to
find out about this departure. Did he actually think he was at Tiffany’s to
I started to scream, “Get off this elevator”, but nothing came out. I was
without a voice. I couldn’t utter a sound. My eyes welled up with tears. I
started to sob silently.
The cage came to a halt. The operator’s hand touched down on the clutch as
if to begin the ride back down. I put my hand on his, hoping he still
responded to human touch. My tears pleaded my case to him. Ten lifetimes
passed until he extended his hand and pulled the gate back.
“Mezzanine” was the last word I heard as I exited the elevator at my