Elevator Confessions

I arrived at my weekend writing spot late this afternoon. No makeup. Messy hair, roots in desperate need of getting done. Enormous backpack housing laptop, script pages for current freelance adaptation, book for other freelance adaptation, notebook for notes, magazine for procrastination, big bottle of water.

I will get a lot done tonight, I vowed. I headed for the elevators.

The building also houses other companies, one of which is a prominent record label known for hip-hop. I stepped into the elevator and the doors began to close. Then an arm reached in to keep the doors from closing. A guy decked out in lots of bling stepped in. Sideways cap. Enormous brand-name jeans. What looked like one glitzy tooth; I’d say platinum. I figured he worked, or was an artist for, the record company. In fact, for a second there, I wondered if I recognized him, maybe from MTV.

When the doors closed and we were alone, he turned to me. “Life sucks,” he said. “It’s too hard.”

“Yeah,” I said. We met eyes. He looked vulnerable. He looked young. He looked overwhelmed.

“It’s a tough time,” he said.

“I hear you,” I said, because I did. “Did you have a bad day?”

“A bad day?” he said. “A bad week. A bad month. A bad two years.”

I nodded.

“I worked like mad all week,” he said. “So I took today off. And now it rains. I can’t get a break.”

“That sucks,” I said.

His floor arrived—one of the record company’s floors, as suspected. He stepped out, and turned back to me. “Life’s too hard,” he said.

“I hope it gets better,” I said. “I hope you have a good weekend.”

“It’ll just get worse,” he said. It seemed like he wanted to say more, much more. To hold the doors open. To keep me from leaving so he could express how deeply screwed this life has made him, how he’s going nowhere, how he knows it will only kill him, someday, the disappointment, how unfair it is, what you want as opposed to what you get.

Or maybe that’s what I wanted to say.

I don’t know. He started to say something else, then the doors closed. The elevator brought me to my floor and let me out.

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