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Short Story

Decent Essays
The Things We Are Supposed to Say

He has always hated smudge-prone surfaces like this. The elevator sensor pad is covered with marks and fingerprints. He does not want to think about the people who came before. They don’t matter to him. Someone, some guy, hold the door open as a figure trumps forward.

He thinks to himself, “You couldn’t wait a minute? Why do we hold elevator doors for people? I guess that’s just what you’re supposed to do. “

She’s breathing heavily as she slides in. Her hair is still sitting, perfectly styled on her head. Probably a ton of hairspray. She smiles at the guy who halted up everyone for her, “Thanks.”

“No problem- Maude.”

She is smiling nervously again. Awkward. She doesn’t know how he knows
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Lynch does not notice the uniquely awkward tension hovering above the passengers of this ill-fated elevator trip.

He ponders whether to have a tuna or egg salad sandwich for dinner tonight.

Then thinks of, well nothing at all.

The stranger looks at the other flustered man standing next to him.

“Get a grip on yourself,” he thinks.

Looking between the irritated dame and the poster corporate boy he wonders if they fucked before.

Ted can stand the silence filling the enclosed space.

He considers cracking a joke about the similarity between flight delays and elevator stalls but is jostled suddenly.

The elevator is moving again.

The stranger groans as the little ding signals their arrival.

He tasks at the other passengers, specifically that annoying bitch Mae or Maude or whatever her name is.

He isn’t quite sure why her existence pains him so much.

Ted knows he should move. He can’t help but want the words, “Huh, that was a journey. I could really use a drink. How about you?” to leave his mouth.

Maybe this was fate. He and Maude should get a drink and talk until dawn and wonder whether five years ago something more could have happened.

But he doesn’t. After another stagnant second, his legs give away and he walks through the aluminum doors.

Life isn’t like the rom-coms he pretends he doesn't watch on lonely Saturday nights. This isn't it a meet cute. She doesn't even know his name,
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