Have you been wondering what all the balloons along the way are about? Have you been hearing loud music and laughter all through the night? It is the 4th Annual Block Party! Go, check it out! Get to know new people, reconnect with those you have met in the past, or have a comfortable chat with your buddies. Block party this way –> HERE! <–
Approaching the elevator, Bethany breathed out a sigh of relief. A cup of scalding hot tea in her left hand, a bowl of cereal in her right, and a plate with a wholewheat bagel precariously balanced on top of it made the walk from the cafeteria a little challenging.
With her right elbow, Bethany pressed the “Up” button on the elevator panel and turned towards the table against the back wall. The paper cup had no protective sleeve on it, and Bethany’s fingers started playing the piano, trying to get a reprieve from the hot surface. Just as she was about to place the cup on the table, a fork flew out of her plate and onto the floor.
“Of course!” she sneered, rolling her eyes.
But it was just a fork. She still had the spoon for the cereal and knife for the cream cheese. All was still good with the world. Bethany placed her items on the table and then rearranged them in her hands – cereal bowl in her left hand, tea in her right, with the bagel on top. The elevator chimed, and Bethany turned towards it.
The elevator was empty. “Great!” There would be no awkward ‘who goes first?’ Bethany did not mind the elevators, but she was of the opinion that people had the tendency to turn everything into a challenge or even a nightmare. Was it not obvious that you get off the elevator first, and then you enter? Of course, that does not apply to people who have their noses stuck in their phones and do not realize they have reached their destination until the door is closing. Bethany was happy to avoid that kind of situation, especially with her hands full.
As the elevator door began to close, a hand appeared from around the corner. The man smiled and gave a slight nod towards Bethany as the elevator door reopened.
Oh, how Bethany disliked that. “Stop delaying me. I just want to get to my room and sip this tea without scorching my fingers!” she wanted to say but knew she could not. It would be considered rude and socially unacceptable if she did utter it out loud. But, of course, we should also be unapologetically ourselves. The contradictions made her smile, but she quickly wiped it off her face just in case the man thought she was smiling at him.
“Stupid,” Bethany scolded herself, realizing that she was wearing a mask, and no one could see whether she was smiling or not. But the man was not wearing a mask and was now getting on the elevator with her.
“One person per elevator,” she blurted out, spotting the notice on the side of the elevator. “Please,” she added with a smile, hoping that would shield her from appearing bitchy. Bethany did not really care how she came across, but she sometimes liked to act differently to see what impact it had on others. “Thank you!” she yelled out as the man walked off the elevator, and the door began to close again. The pandemic was not all that bad, after all.
Just before the door closed completely, the man turned around and shot Bethany a scornful look. “I guess the smile in my voice did not help as much as some might think,” she shrugged, making sure that the motion would not disturb the items in her hands. “Have I seen him somewhere before?” Bethany wondered, chewing on the inside of her right cheek. No, he was not in the cafeteria when she was getting her breakfast. Her thoughts then went to the previous night when she was on the dance floor, and her heart stopped.
At the same time, the elevator jolted and then came to a halt. Bethany was already tired of the morning not going according to plan. First, the breakfast was very limited due to the pandemic. If they were worried about the spread of the virus through an open buffet, they should have offered room service. Then, the stranger slowing down her elevator. She did not need any more problems. With her left elbow, Bethany pushed the “Open Door” button. Nothing happened. She then jabbed all the floor buttons, hoping that something would work. Still no movement. Bethany pushed the emergency button and waited for a response. She heard a dialing tone, then, after a moment, a busy signal came on, and then silence filled the elevator again.
After placing the breakfast items on the floor, Bethany dug into her back pocket. Brown sugar packets flew onto the floor, and Bethany grunted, thinking of the fork she left behind on the 1st floor. She picked up the packets with her left hand, making a mental note to wash her hands when she got to the room, and then pulled out her phone. There was no signal, and Bethany sighed audibly as she placed her phone back in her pocket. She smashed the Help button on the elevator panel a few more times before sliding down the wall and onto the floor.
Bethany was not like other girls. She was not going to panic just because the elevator malfunctioned. Her co-worker came to mind who once came crying to her because the elevator stopped too early (or too late), and she had to take a step up to get off the elevator.
“What if it got stuck between the floors, and I could not get out?” Bethany’s co-worker asked, blowing her nose, sobbing.
“Then I would not have to be talking to you right now,” Bethany wanted to reply but bit her tongue.
No, Bethany was not one to cause unnecessary drama. She knew that things like this happened all the time and that any second, someone would tell her to stay calm through the speaker, and then the elevator would start back up. She just had to be patient.
Just as she thought that the light in the elevator went out, and Bethany’s mind traveled to the previous night. She was shaking what her mama gave her when a man brushed against her. At first, she thought it was on accident, but the guy put his hands on her hips and started swaying to the beat with her. Bethany was not interested. Just because she was dancing alone did not mean that she did not have a life partner. Or that she was asking for any kind of male attention. All she wanted to do was to lose herself in the music and shake off all the stress from the workweek.
Since this is part 1 (out of 2; yes, for sure only 2), I am not posting the prompt(s). Check back in next week to see what happens to Bethany.
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