Monday, October 3, 2011

In the Elevator

I stride purposefully toward the elevators. The "up" button is already glowing orange, so I lean against the wall, grateful for even a quick break. Already waiting is a man juggling two full hands of cafeteria food.

We do that little stranger dance where our eyes meet briefly, and then we both look away quickly, each pretending we weren't sizing up the other person.

"These elevators are painfully slow" I say to break the silence.

"Oh, I know," he replies, "I've been here for five weeks."

"Wow" I say. I leave the word hanging in the air, not wanting to pry, but hoping he'll continue.

"Yeah. My wife's pregnant and on bed rest."

"Wow" I say again "When's she due?"

"October" he replies as the middle elevator dings.

We both move forward as the doors open. He gestures with his full hands that I should go ahead. I smile in thanks and enter the small space.

Pressing "6", I ask "Which floor?"

"5" he answers as the doors close and we jerk upward.

"October's a good birthday month." I smile. "Both my mom and I can attest to that."

"I think so too. I'm the third."

We smile at each other over this small coincidence.

"How long are you going to be here?"

"Until October."

"That's a long time to eat hospital food."

"Yes, but it means my wife and baby are getting the care they need. They're in the best place they could be, so I'm more than happy to be here with them, eating hospital food."

The elevator dings and the doors open onto the fifth floor.

"Good luck" I tell the man as he exits, still balancing two more hospital dinners.

The doors slide shut again and I lean against the wall.

I've never met anyone so happy to be in the hospital. Seeing it as a way to keep his family safe and healthy.

I straighten as the elevator arrives at my floor.

I brush back my hair with one hand, checking my badge is still in place and stride out of the open doors, back onto the bustling Surgical Trauma floor at shift change.


This was several months ago. Today is October third. I wonder about this man, whether he is holding his precious child, or if he's still patiently waiting next to his wife, eating hospital food.


I almost never write with dialog, so I am very aware that all the grammar is far from correct. Hopefully it's still legible, and if you know the rules, I would appreciate it if you shared your knowledge.


Tara R. said...

That's the great thing about dialog, all grammar rules are suspended. Many writers use dialects in their character conversations, trying to make it more realistic. If you want to end a sentence with a preposition, because that's how regular people talk, do it.

Jessica said...

this was great!! :)