‘Ding’

 

The elevator door opened slowly. Aima looked up from her phone. She didn’t usually look up from her phone.

Who does?

Not at least until you are crossing a road.

And even if people do, Aima wasn’t one of them.

Smartphone was her life. If she wasn’t working on her phone – sending emails and compiling documents – then she was surfing on social media. And if not that either, then playing games.

But like clockwork, she would enter the elevator from her floor at 9 am.

And like clockwork, the elevator would stop 3 floors down.

And like clockwork, she would look up to register who came in.

Only an acknowledging glance. And she would get the same in return.

But she had never had the guts to talk to him. And what could she possibly talk about in the 15 seconds it took to reach the ground floor.

Anyway, the door closed behind him and the countdown began so did her brain’s weird assessments.

15

“He is hot. Last night, when I was stalking him on Facebook. Hot Dayum. The new picture.”

14

“He dresses well. He is always dressed in proper attire. On Friday when I saw him in the morning, he was even wearing a tie.”

13

He doesn’t seem rude. A week ago when the first-floor old lady started talking to him and wouldn’t stop even after half an hour, he was so sweet with her.

12

“He looks educated. Didn’t last month I saw him reading John Grisham? If he gets John Grisham, he gotta be educated!”

11

“He has such a nice voice. Yesterday, the phone call he had. What did he say? Yes, ‘pandra taareekh? (on 15th) No, I am busy’.”

10

only 10 seconds left. Shit.

9

I will talk to him today!

8

I will talk to him at the 5-second marker

7

Who am I kidding? let’s just wait for tomorrow.

 

“Ding”

Shit.

The elevator was stuck.

“Uhoh! What do I do? Now I gotta talk. Not talking now would be more awkward. But wait, will I die?. Shit, I am going to die.”

Just then, she heard someone say, ‘Aima breathe!’

‘Oh my God. I am losing oxygen. I am already hallucinating.’

‘Breathe Aima. Open your eyes and breathe.’

Wait, what?

Aima slowly opened her eyes and there he was… TALKING TO HER… HE WAS TALKING TO HER…

‘Uh hi,’ Aima whispered.

‘Hello, Aima. You look like you’ll faint. Breathe. Slowly. Everything will be fine.’

He knew her name?

When? Why? How?

In a daze, she saw him walk past her towards the phone line.

‘Hello? Excuse me, the elevator is stuck… Ye,s there are 2 people here…  Yes, thank you, we will wait.’

He turned.

‘See that wasn’t too hard, was it now?’

‘Yes’ Her voice was hoarse.

‘Don’t worry. They are coming to fix the issue. We will be out in no time.’  He was talking so much. He was talking to her. Her crush was talking to her!

‘How do you know my name?’

‘Aima, we have been living in the same building for the past 2 years, it will be weird NOT to know your name. Wait, are you telling me you don’t know my name?’

‘No No. That’s not what I meant.’

‘So you know my name?’

Aima forgot all anxiety and kept on explaining herself for another 2 minutes to clear her position.

And then she saw it. He was smiling.

“Do you feel better?” He asked.

“Yes!” She said quietly.

10 minutes later when the maintenance guy opened the door, they were very much into each other. Apparently, both had quite a few mutual interests and had decided to meet later that day for tea.

_____

The maintenance guy enters the elevator control room exasperated.

“Look, man! Play Cupid all you want but why haul me out in the freezing winters? This is the 15th couple you have set up in the past year. Congratulations! But do you really have to do that in the elevator?”

The elevator control guy stands up, picks up the popcorn bowl, walks up to him and says, ‘But don’t they look so cute together? Oh how badly they wanted to talk. I was just helping.’

“But”

Elevator guy points to the screen.

“Oooh, another one. Now, these two have been wanting to talk for 5 months now.”

“But”

“Popcorn?”

The mischievous grin on elevator guy’s, maintenance man knew he had to go to the elevator all over again…

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