‘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 it was a whole new world inside the elevator.

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

Like clockwork, the elevator would stop 3 floors down.

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 routine 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? ‘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.’ She thought.

‘Breathe Aima. Open your eyes and breathe.’ It was that sweet voice again.

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… Yes there are two 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?’ She blurts out.

‘Aima, we have been living in the same building for the past two 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?’ He asked again.

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.

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