Our Writers’ Group homework last week was to write about a situation where people get stuck together eg in a broken down lift. This was what I wrote…
He was arriving just as I was leaving. We looked at each other. Sometimes you just know, don’t you? You can tell when there’s a mutual attraction between strangers and you half smile at each other.
Well, we smiled, and the power went off. We were caught in the middle – the doors behind me stopped closing with a four inch gap, and I had not reached the point of triggering the automatic doors in front. There was a squeal of exclamation from someone in the shopping centre and a general increase in chatter.
‘Oh great,’ the man said.
‘Yeah,’ I agreed. I went to the outside doors and gave them a push – already knowing there’d be no point. The man went to see if he could pull apart the inner doors. No point either. We both sighed loudly. We glanced at each other again, and smiled again. I glanced down at my shopping and thought furiously of what to say. Completely aware that I had been put in the most ideal position to meet one of the most gorgeous men I’d ever seen; and I’d gone shy.
I looked at the rain outside and wondered if I should comment on the weather. No, that would seem stupid. I could ask if he was on his way to buying something for his wife or girlfriend. No – too obvious, and so embarrassing if he said yes. I looked around the entrance porch we were stuck in for ideas for something to say. There was little else apart from a large green pot plant in the corner, a Macdonald’s advert on one wall and an ugly modern landscape print on the other. None of which inspired conversation.
‘Are you alright in there?’ A young security guard had his face just the other side of the four inch gap.
‘Fine, thanks,’ I said.
‘Yes, fine,’ said the gorgeous man.
How polite we are, I thought.
‘I’m sure we’ll have the problem fixed in no time,’ said the security guard, and he walked away.
‘Ok then,’ I sighed.
‘Yes,’ the man agreed.
I noticed he was beginning to fidget; fiddling with his cuffs and alternately turning each foot on their sides slightly. He had nice shoes. Could I tell him he had nice shoes? I looked up at his face and caught him watching me; so I quickly looked away again. It would be a good story to tell, I considered; at our wedding or telling the grandchildren sat by the fire at Christmas. ‘The passion; the electricity that passed between us when we first laid eyes on each other, was so great, we caused the power to surge and cut out. We knew then we were meant to be together forever.”
All of a sudden there was a click and a whirring noise. The lights came on in the shopping centre and both sets of doors opened. The man walked in, and I walked out. As we went in our opposing directions, I shook out my umbrella and glanced back at him. He was turning away, like he’d just been looking back at me.