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     “The Elevator”
 
He struggles
with himself
as she walks
in and stands
in front of
him
caught in the
elevator
with her again
his anxiety
rising
with every floor
they ascend
together,
being chastised
and tormented
by his inner
thoughts
along the way
telling him to
step up
and be a
man
quit cowering
in the corner
of the elevator
and say something
to her
but he never
does,
he raises
his eyes
off of the
elevator floor
a simple move
for most
that takes all
the self-confidence
that he has
being helped
along by
the undeniable
desire
to let his
eyes
ride the lines
of her body,
but he is
unable to bask
in her beauty
the unrelenting
chant of
“Talk to her”
“Talk to her’
“Talk to her”
continuing to echo
in his head
I just need
a little time
a few more
seconds
to gather the
right words
together,
I need a
sentence with
a little bit
more structure
then
“hi,
what’s your name”
he says to
himself
trying to dampen
the voices
trying to hide
behind
a translucent lie,
but both parties
know the truth
he’s only stalling
waiting for that
tinny ding
announcing his
arrival
on the nineteenth
floor,
she reaches down
runs a finger
between her heel
and the back
of her left
shoe
a small adjustment           
that causes her
eyes
to meet his
she flashes a
weak smile
tries to massage
the area where
her skin is
rubbing against
the back of
her shoe
she looks back
down
at her ankle
pulls her
two fingers away
from that red
patch of sore
skin
a slight wince
travels the length
of her smile
as she slides
her foot
back into her
shoe,
she keeps her
body pointed
forward
as she says
under her breath
“Damn Italians,
I shouldn’t be
having any issues
with my 5 ½
size foot
in a size
six shoe”
her barely audible
comment
only serves to
exasperate
his still falling
low self-esteem
embarrassed
by his lack
of action
his eyes go
back to the
the elevator floor
as he tries
to step back
and disappear
into the corner
of the elevator
mentally flogging
himself
for not stepping
up
and being the
man
that he knows
he should be
in this big
event
in his uneventful
life,
she plays with
her phone
only slightly aware
of the guy
that’s pressed himself
into the corner
as she fires
off
a nasty E-mail
to an Italian
shoe manufacturer,
while he is
holding his breath
standing perfectly
still
trying not to
draw any attention
to himself
just wanting this
whole episode
to be over
just trying to
hold it together
till the nineteenth
floor
is on the
same level plane
as the elevator
floor
he’s standing on,
it finally happens
he hears the
long awaited
ding
that off key
tinny sound
was still hanging
in the air
as she turned
left
down the hallway
he straightens up
his six foot
one inch frame
and lets out
his breath
as he takes
a few steps
forward
it doesn’t take
long
for his psychological
vital signs
to get back
within respectable
levels
the elevator doors
closing behind him
a sense of
relief
in the dull
thud
that the doors
make
when they meet,
he could still
hear
the faint clicking
of her high
heels
as she walked
down the enclosed
corridor
to her office
taking his mind
back to that
moment
in between
the ninth
and the tenth
floors,
her eyes
briefly
catching his
a wiry
cartoon smile
on her lips
as her fingers
delicately
felt their way
along her ankle,
he wanted to
speak up
he could feel
the words
struggling to come
to the surface
but they became
lost
that scene with
her
will continue to
haunt him
as she goes
about her day
unaware
till the details
begin to fade
or he runs
into her
in the elevator
once again
still unable to
find anything
significant
to say…
 
     Tom Allen…01-05-2019…