When I’m on a hotel elevator, I like to hit the close door button on men, specifically if they make eye contact with me as they approach.
Then I like to fantasize that in that moment, when they saw me, and our eyes locked, they fell madly in love with me, but then the elevator closed.
I imagine that they were so desperate to meet me that they decided to run up and down each floor trying to see where I got off only they weren’t able to catch me. I was just gone. Like a ghost.
Then they ran back downstairs, they go to the front desk and describe me to the concierge but the concierge has no idea who I am either.
They pause in the lobby, sweating and out of breath they scan the exits. As their body spins around, they think they catch a glimpse of my hair and overcoat whip around and out the revolving door. They run towards the exit, just as a tour group of seniors enter the lobby wearing matching t-shirts over their sweaters that read, “New York is For Lovers”.
They decide to wait outside the building everyday at the same time hoping to see me again, but they never do. They never give up though, years go by, and now they come every Thursday at that same time. On one such Thursday, the doorman asks them, “Are you waiting for someone?”
And they smile slowly and whisper, “The woman of my dreams.”
After spending a decade coming to the hotel, and comparing every other woman in their lives to me. Their best friends tell them, “You realize that this is insane man. You need to move on and stop searching for this fucking mystery woman on the elevator. It’s unhealthy. Everyone is super worried about you dude.”
They get angry and shout, “I’m in love with her. I know we are meant to be together. Our story is too perfectly romantic. You wouldn’t understand, you met your wife at a Sack n’ Save!”
They turn around and stare longingly out their apartment window, and whisper to the glass, “I know she’s out there.”
Over time, their trips to the hotel become less frequent. On the twentieth anniversary of the day they saw me in the elevator they return to the hotel once again.
They are sitting at the bar sipping whiskey when the bartender comes over and says, “You look like you might have a story or two to tell old timer?” They are now seventy years old.
They begin to recount the time they saw me in the hotel elevator and how much they never forgot about me. The bartender sighs, “Wow. I think I know who you’re talking about!” Their eyes brighten as their body straightens, and they ask, “Where can I find her? Wait… how can you be sure it’s her?”
The bartender wipes the counter and says solemnly, “Because you’re not the only one. Old men are always coming in here and telling the story of the elevator woman. One of them caught her getting off at third floor. She use to live here in the hotel. I don’t know how to tell you this but, she’s dead.”
Their eyes soften and begin to water, they’ve waited for this moment their whole lives and it’s gone. Forever. Confusion sets in, “you mean she… she was… a ghost?”
The old doorman is sitting at a table and all of the sudden he erupts into laughter. It was all a con, the bartender was in on it. They get up from the barstool and throw a twenty on the bar, “Thanks for nothing.” They stumble to the lobby exit.
As they exit, they see me, and even though I’m older now, they immediately recognize me as I’m entering through the opposite side of the revolving door. Time begins to slow down as they watch me on the other side of the glass. They follow me back inside the hotel. I head for the elevator. I can feel that there’s some weird old man following closely behind me.
They reach out to hold the elevator doors open and say, “Hello, beautiful. I’ve been waiting a long time to get a chance to talk to you.”
They recount the story to me.
I look at them and politely say, “I’m flattered but I’m not interested, I have a boyfriend.” They let go of the elevator door and say, “You’re a fucking ugly bitch anyway” just as the elevator door slides to a close.