A micro-short story about two women in an elevator.
The metal door open wide like stiff curtains. Woman A: A gamine woman in navy culottes and a patterned tank top strides into the steel chamber at an earnest pace, swiftly reaching up for the inverse angle brackets button, hitting pause on the afternoon light as the elevator swallow her whole.
She leans her back against the cool metal, relishing the crunch and rustle of her rucksack content, her pleasure of solitude betrayed by the look of ennui on her face.
The door opens a few seconds later, to reveal Woman B: a taller, slender girl walking in, in a tight T-shirt with cotton shorts and a backpack in tow. Woman A straightens herself up, mindlessly adjusting her rucksack. Woman B stretches her arm across Woman A’s face to press two buttons below hers. Woman A notices that Woman B has thick hair which touches her shoulder blades, long firm limbs, and smooth sunkissed skin.
Woman B gives Woman A a half-smile which doesn’t touch her eyes. Woman A smiles back, vaguely, wondering how long the girl has been a woman for.
They stare at the doors before them as the steel chamber levitate, locking them in their airless thoughts for the next twenty-odd seconds.
Woman A shifts her gaze from the take-away paper cup in Woman B’s hand (Starbucks, really?) to her own loose red batik-print top before comparing boobs and thighs in the privacy of her mind: Give her another ten years, ten break-ups and five job-hops, and we’ll see how —
The metal doors open.
“Have a good day,” Woman A says with a small smile; her voice sounds a little hoarse from a week’s worth of disuse.
“Oh, thank you, you to — ” Woman B says, almost mumbling, not quite finishing her sentence as she springs out of the elevator to an open apartment hallway. Her voice is rather high-pitched, matching the embarrassed demeanour which Woman A recognises from her secondary-school and college years.
Woman A smiles slightly, listening to the slight fumble as Woman B removes her sneakers in the hallway. She shuts her eyes as the elevator doors close with a soft clunk.
At least she didn’t look at her phone, Woman A smirks.
Also known as Phoenix Li,
this Chinese Malaysian storyteller experiments a lot, and likes to keep it real.
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