Title: Should've taken the Stairs
Rebecca Whitt - June 14, 2012 06:46 PM (GMT)
June 14th, 2012
Hospitals had become a place of relaxation. Unintentionally, subconsciously, slowly—this white building that used to be her worst nightmare transformed into a building of solace. Rebecca didn’t know when it happened or the reason. But it had. The comfort Rebecca felt was not the same as being accustomed to hospitals, but being accustomed was definitely a factor. Monthly check-ups for sixteen years are a sure way to get familiar with the place. But not something that normal people find comfort in. When she analyzed her thoughts, Rebecca she hypothesized that there were two reasons for this. First, she was used to change. Doctors changed, her homes changed, diagnoses changed. Hospitals were consistent, no matter where you went. Sure, there were bad ones and good ones. But they were the place you came to get better. If not better, they were a place to die. The latter was a gloomy thought, but it was true. And as depressing as it sounds, Rebecca was used to those kinds of thoughts. She’d had plenty of doctors tell her she was going to die. By the time she was thirteen, she didn’t cringe at the words anymore. Sixteen years was a long time to contemplate things. Rebecca was far from a depressed, suicidal woman. But she was beginning to accept the way life was. Sometimes it was hard.
The change happened because of the impact hospitals had on Rebecca. It was in a hospital that Rebecca was told she had a different heart. That her heart beat differently. That it had holes where there shouldn’t be any. And it was hospitals that she had to visit every month, only once if she was lucky. Hospitals made her who she was. She was born in a hospital and it was likely she’d die in one too. She learned to love her sick heart instead of resent it. So this comfort for the badly reputed building came partially out respect. Every trip to the hospital brought something different for Becca. Whether it is good news, bad news—or getting stuck in an elevator with a stranger.
Her normal hospital visit went something like this: Get to the hospital, go up the stairs, go to the nurse’s desk, wait around for a nurse, after finishing up getting blood drawn and whatnot go back down the stairs and leave the hospital. Today, instead of the normal check-up and leave, Rebecca had to draw blood and the nurses had to give her other tests. And instead of taking the stairs back down, Rebecca opted to take the elevator. When the doors to the elevator opened, there was one other person in the elevator. Rebecca smiled at them and stepped. About two and a half seconds into the elevator ride, it shook and came to a very sudden stop. Rebecca had to brace herself against the wall to keep upright. The lights flickered at first, but stayed on. She shared a look with the other person. They had both come to the horrifying realization that the elevator wasn’t working.
This concerned Rebecca, to say the least. ”You’d think they’d be better about this sort of thing in hospitals.”
She smiled faintly and relaxed her back against the wall. Rebecca glanced at the other person. They didn’t look like they were a patient (and they were both heading the lobby, suggesting that they were just visiting someone), but it would be a terrible situation if they had both been patients. Rebecca opened her mouth to say something more, but she was cut off by a voice that came through the speaker. ”Hello, as you can tell the elevator broke…”
After asking if everyone was alright, and if there was anyone who was in need of emergency care, they said they would be calling someone from Indianapolis to come and fix the elevator and meanwhile they would get local technicians to try and fix it.
Rebecca slid down so she was sitting on the floor. ”Looks like we’re going to be here for a while.”
Sam Woods - June 14, 2012 09:39 PM (GMT)
Sam hated hospitals sometimes. They could be eerily quiet, and he hated that. Especially when you sometimes heard people yelling for no reason, or beeping of machinery. But Sam had come in for the simple task of dropping off some flowers for a friend of his after she’d had a baby. She wasn’t that close of a friend, but her husband had helped Sam move into his apartment after seeing him struggling to carry four boxes up three flights of stairs, and after keeping in touch every so often he felt somewhat obligated to at least get her something. A baby was a pretty big deal. Even if he did resent them for having a kid when they were ten years younger than he was, while he was stuck with squat. Not even a girlfriend, let alone a wife. Why did he have to be so pessimistic about life? He didn’t know. He should have been happy; friends of his had managed to have a healthy baby girl, but somehow Sam still seemed to think about himself. Or rather about how everyone else seemed so much happier than himself.
He just wanted to leave, so after a minute of silence where he couldn’t think of anything to say and just feigned interest in their baby, he said he should get going because he needed to meet someone for dinner. He didn’t. It sounded like he had a date; and the thought of him on a date almost made him laugh. It had been a while. Now he was just waiting for the Vow to sort things out for him. He was fed up with waiting and trying to find someone who worked only for it to blow up in his face. At least his three engagements were called off before they became weddings. Because breaking up after a wedding wasn’t as simple as breaking up before. After a wedding you had to deal with divorce papers, and if he’d been divorced three times then he’d be lucky to have the money to afford that bouquet of flowers.
Sam headed for the elevator, thankful that it was empty. He needed some peace and quiet, and the elevator was nicely isolated from the beeping machinery and screaming children in the rooms. But the next floor down, he was joined by someone else. But it was fine. He smiled slightly to her, mostly because she smiled to him and he wasn’t a complete jackass. But shortly after the doors closed and the elevator dropped, the lights flickered and they came to a stop. Sam looked up at the ceiling, with a looked of being pissed off on his face, rather than one of worry. At least he didn’t have that fake dinner date to be late to.
Hopefully they wouldn’t be stuck here too long. Sam didn’t quite fancy becoming a cannibal, but maybe this girl didn’t have as many issues with making the leap. Maybe she already was a cannibal. Maybe she had some kind of electronic interference making machine that stopped the elevator and this was how she got her victims. Then she’d put all the leftovers in her bag and no one would know Sam was ever here. He looked slightly wide-eyed at the bag and shuffled slightly to the corner as the speaker continued to talk. It was probably important information that he needed to hear. Maybe she was listening though. Maybe it was saying “RESIST ALL URGES TO BECOME CANNIBALS”.
But she didn’t look like a cannibal. She did look familiar though. Sam couldn’t quite place where he’d seen her before. Maybe he’d just seen her when he’d come into the hospital, glanced at her for a few seconds and then forgotten her face until meeting her again on the way out.
“Seems that way.” Sam sighed and leaned against the wall as he looked to the girl sat on the floor now. He was still trying to place her face, but he looked away again, pretending to be interested in the ceiling as he scratched his unshaven chin. She was familiar. He must have seen her before. Was she famous? Well, if she was famous he had no idea what she was doing here. He looked back down to her, a quizzical look on his face. He had time to figure it out, anyway. They were stuck here. “I’m just throwing it out there, but maybe we should make a pact not to eat each other unless it’s absolutely necessary. Like I skipped breakfast this morning, but usually I don’t get hungry until 3pm, so..” He looked down to his wrist, reading the time on his watch. “No eating one another for at least two hours. Deal?”
Rebecca Whitt - June 14, 2012 11:05 PM (GMT)
One o’clock was an inconvenient time to be stuck in an elevator. The voice from the speaker suggested that it could take a few hours before they would be able to leave. A few hours were a good chunk of time. If what the mystical voice predicted was correct, she and the man would lose most of their day being stuck in a metal box. Rebecca went through her mental to-do list and was pleased to realize that she didn’t have anything to do. This meant she wouldn’t have to call anyone to tell them she couldn’t show up. But on the less bright side, this was mostly due to Rebecca’s lack of friends in Evergreen. And that was to be expected because of her recent move. Jay, her younger brother, was in Evergreen now. She hoped otherwise, but she felt like his presence here wouldn’t last very long. He’d stay to meet her fiancé and
The man looked a familiar. Not enough for Rebecca to inquire about it. After all, Evergreen was a small town. If they happened to engage in conversation at some point (a challenge that Rebecca already accepted and was running though things they could talk about in her head), something he said might trigger a memory of where she’d seen him before. The man interrupted her thoughts. ”I’m just throwing it out there…” he began. Rebecca couldn’t help it but be both curious and a little frightened for what was to come next. They were in a tiny, metal box with no escape. When a stranger starts off a topic like that in her situation, it could turn out to be something sketch. Rebecca was pleasantly mistaken. A small chuckle escaped her lips. Then she full on laughed. He was funny, and his delivery was perfect. Then again, Rebecca had also been told she laughed too much.
”Normally, I eat lunch at two. I’ll try to contain myself, but no promises.” Rebecca lifted her hands up, in a motion that suggested all cards were on the imaginary table, and grinned at him. But actually. It would be positively dreadful if her day ended in cannibalism. Or her life for that matter. ”Hopefully the wonderful technicians will get the doors open before we have to worry about that.” She suggested with confidence. She knew they were working hard to fix the elevator. Did she see any movies recently with elevators that could forewarn her of their trouble ahead? There was that New Year’s Eve movie… that ended happily. If she was the Lea Michele to this man’s Ashton Kutcher, Rebecca would end the day singing to millions of people. That would be a good day. If it was like that Devil movie Jay made her watch, then the man could possibly be the devil. Boy, would that be a bummer. It appeared she hadn’t watched any movies that were of any actual help.
”So were you visiting someone?” Rebecca inquired and tilted her head to glance up at the man. ”Good visit, bad visit?” She asked hesitantly knowing that her questioning could potentially be too personal to answer. She knew it was selfish, and she felt guilty for it, but Rebecca was trying to ask indirectly if the man was someone like her. A patient, who wasn’t really a patient. In addition to her alternative intentions, she sincerely hoped the man wasn’t visiting a sick friend. That would make getting stuck in an elevator a bajillion times worse.
Sam Woods - June 14, 2012 11:52 PM (GMT)
“If they’re anything like the technicians at my job, they’ll be around to look at it next week, they’ll tilt their heads and try turning it off and back on, and if that doesn’t work they say they have to go help someone else but they’ll be back the next day.” Sam wasn’t terrible with computers. He knew a fair bit – enough to rarely have to call the IT technicians, but sometimes things that were out of his hands happened and he needed their help. Like if there were network issues or some kind of major malfunction, he’d rather call them, because it was their job. But they were the laziest assholes in the world. Probably because every other person in the school would call them if they so much as lost track of where their mouse pointer was on the screen.
Any movie Sam had seen where two people were stuck in an elevator ended in one of three ways: they were killed, either by the elevator or someone who appeared from nowhere; they hooked up inside and got their clothes back on just as the elevator doors reopened; or they had some dramatic 20-minute talk where they pretty much explained the whole plot up to that point and then someone climbed up through the elevator shaft to save someone. Life wasn’t a movie. If it was then he’d have probably preferred option two, because he didn’t particularly feel like being killed, or climbing up through the elevator shaft.
“Pregnant visit.” Sam wasn’t sure whether that counted as good or bad. Good if you planned to have the kid. Bad if you hated kids. “I mean, not me. I’m not pregnant.” He raised his hands, apparently in an attempt to show his innocence, as he stood in the corner of an elevator. “My pregnant friend. I mean, she was pregnant. She had the baby.” Sam almost made it sound like some kind of diabolical plot, as if he was trying to cover something up. He felt as if he needed to explain with less shiftiness, so he lowered his hands slightly and re-explained. “My friend had a baby so I came to visit them.” There, now he didn’t sound like a raving fucking lunatic.
Sam was still trying to place where he’d seen her. Maybe she really was famous. Just.. trying to blend in. Maybe that was why she was so happy to converse with a stranger – maybe she thought that he was a fan of hers, and she thought he was dying to talk to her. But he couldn’t imagine where he’d seen her. No TV show or movie came to mind. Although the thought crossed his mind; what if she was a porn star? Lord knew Sam had seen his fair share of porn. But that just seemed like an insult to the girl; she looked innocent, and didn’t look dead behind the eyes, for a start. He really needed to take his mind off of porn while he was locked in an enclosed metal room with a complete stranger. “I’ve never liked visiting hospitals for good or bad visits though. Next time I have to come here, it’ll have to be absolutely necessary. Nothing less than a dismembered limb. And I’ll take the stairs.”
Rebecca Whitt - June 15, 2012 12:49 AM (GMT)
Rebecca’s face lit up at the man’s reason for being in the hospital. Babies!. She loved babies. She loved all children. Granted, Rebecca never had a child of her own, but she wanted kids. Her mouth opened to say “Congratulations!” since she assumed it was either his wife or girlfriend that could be pregnant. The woman stopped when he explained further, thankful that he stopped her from looking like an idiot. Laughter poured out of her at the end of his spiel. He was either the most intentionally funny person she met, or unintentionally. But he was funny. And funny is always welcome when you’re in a tight situation. ”That’s so exciting for your friend!” Rebecca tamed the last of her giggles. If you listened close enough, there was a hint of jealously. The woman mentally scolded herself for it. No reason for jealousy! She’d be married soon, hopefully to someone who wanted kids as much as she did. Just the thought of getting the match phone call excited her. Becca couldn’t wait. ”I’m glad it wasn’t a bad visit.” She reiterated.
It was reasonable that the man didn’t like to visit hospitals. He was a normal, nice looking fellow. ”There are very few happy visits to a hospital.” Rebecca agreed with him. She could only think of one, and it happened to be the reason he was there. He could have disliked kids, too, which would in turn make it a bad visit.
Her lips curled into a smile at his last statement. ”But that would depend on the limb though, wouldn’t it? It would be awfully hard to climb the stairs with one leg.” She pointed out. It was ironic though, wasn’t it? That the day she chose to take the elevator instead of the stairs, it broke. Everything happened for a reason though, Rebecca believed. ”Are you a particularly good hopper?” Rebecca continued to inquire, raising an eyebrow up at the man. A thought came to her head and she gasped. She lowered her voice. ”What if you lost both legs?” She raised her eyebrows at him. ”Then you’d have to climb the stairs, literally.” She smirked at her little puny joke that she made. And just imagine if he had all his limbs gone! Goodness, this was a silly conversation to be having with a stranger. He must be thinking she wandered over from the psych ward.
”Wow I’m weird, I’m going to stop talking” She laughed at herself out of embarrassment. Then she broke her promise almost immediately after making it. ”I hope you didn’t have plans today.” Rebecca stated quietly, realizing that he could be missing work or life or something. She was trying to be a little more normal around a man she just met. Rebecca knew she talked a lot. Being anxious about getting stuck in an elevator certainly activated her talking skills.
Sam Woods - June 15, 2012 06:35 PM (GMT)
Sam couldn’t help wondering how a seemingly simple elevator ride with a stranger had turned into the two of them joking about losing both of their legs. It was some dark sense of comedy, and it was just a good job they weren’t out in the open of the hospital, because there would undoubtedly be someone here who had lost at least one of their limbs. And here was Sam and.. whatsername just joking about it. He probably should have learned her name. Who knew how long they’d be stuck here? There could be a nuclear attack and this elevator was made from a recycled nuclear bunker and they’d be the last two people left in the United States. And they’d have to work together and repopulate and try and find other survivors while they fought off mutants, and animals that had escaped from the zoo and turned hostile. Sam would be aiming his harpoon while a tiger ran toward her. And all of that would have just been awkward if he didn’t know her name.
“I’d literally climb the stairs with my hands before getting back into an elevator. Well, maybe. Well, I probably wouldn’t. And my apartment is on the fourth floor, so.. I don’t want to walk up four flights of stairs when I get home. What are the chances of this happening twice in one day, anyway?” Probably slim. But it could have happened to Sam. He was known to have the occasional amount of bad luck, and his pessimism kind of helped push it along, because he’d expect it to happen, and he wouldn’t try and stop bad things from happening. Obviously an elevator breaking down was kind of something that just happened – even Sam couldn’t control that. Unless he was the one who pushed the “stop elevator” button and locked it in place for a few hours before they released it again.
“I’m surprised I remember what ‘plans’ even means anymore.” Sam mumbled with a slight grin. She may not have heard him, but the joke was mostly only funny if she knew that Sam had absolutely no social life whatsoever. . “Did you have plans for the day? Or tomorrow? They never said it’d be fixed today.” Usually, he finished work, he went home, he went online, he watched TV, he went to sleep at about 2am after a couple of glasses of whiskey. The whiskey was optional. And expensive. Sometimes he preferred the far cheaper option of chocolate milk. Chocolate milk didn’t make you sign into online chat rooms and pretend to be an expert on baking and give out your email address. Somehow he ended up with a lot of questions about cake. And a lot of pictures of penises were sent too, thanks to some hilarious pranksters. Thankfully the penises had started to taper off a few days later. He needed to get penises off the brain. “I’m Sam, by the way. If we’re going to be stuck in here a while, it’d just get awkward calling me ‘guy in the corner.’”
Rebecca Whitt - June 16, 2012 12:02 AM (GMT)
”Pfft,” Rebecca noised in response. ”I think to have plans you have to know people first.” Moving to a new town was always hard and but she already had people who she would consider her friends. Lately, she hadn’t been doing much but settling in. Maybe by the time she and Sam escape, a friendship will have formed. It was a little too sappy. But, what the heck, she loved sappy. ”Rebecca.” A smiled warmed her face, ”It’s nice to meet you, guy-in-the-corner.” Becca leaned her head against the wall of the elevator and averted her gaze to the ceiling. She was too anxious about being matched to go out and be any fun, thus having “plans” would have been useless.
She wasn’t positive, and she hated to assume things, but from Sam’s response to both the elevator shutting down and her question, she was guessing he wasn’t married. He could be, but Rebecca preferred to think that he wasn’t. If Sam was married, Rebecca would hope that he’d make a call to his wife to tell her that he’d be home late or something—it was a depressing foreshadow if that was the case. Maybe being locked in an elevator with only her thoughts wasn’t a good thing.
Her hand found her purse and she began to dig through it. Rebecca brought her legs in and crossed them and dumped the contents of her purse onto the skirt of her purple dress covering her lap. There was a lot of stuff. Her phone, her wallet, chapstick, a blueberry nutrigrain bar, and her prescription—they were the only important things that came out of it. The rest was junk. There were loose coins, receipts, some dollar bills, a grocery card or two and various other useless items. It needed a good cleaning. ”Looks like we won’t starve.” She commented quietly. There wasn’t an objective she was trying to conquer when she looked through her purse. Rebecca figured she could busy herself with organizing her things while she talked to Sam.
”I just moved here.” It was a late response to his asking if she had any plans. ”Two months ago.” That wasn’t really just. ”So my schedule mainly consists of eating ice cream and watching cooking shows and then passing out at ten.” Rebecca always found a way to get volunteering in every day though. She didn’t work in the summer, but boy, sometimes she wished she did. That way she had something to take her mind off of things. ”I know. Not the healthiest of live-styles. But what can I say, I’m a risk taker.” Maybe her lack of a life would make him feel better about his lack of plans.