"It wasn't my fault; she made the move..." I mumbled under my breath, practising my apology. Linda was the love of my life, and Evelyn knew that. I knew that Evelyn used to have a crush on me, but I thought that she would stop pursuing me after I started dating Linda. I was wrong. So wrong. She put her lips against mine and kissed me. And Linda witnessed it. What is wrong with me? I should have pushed her away, I should have. And it's not like I kissed her back. I didn't. But no one would believe that. If I were in a similar situation, I wouldn’t even believe myself.
I tried to console myself with excuses, even though I knew that it was going to take more than that to justify my actions to Linda. I hadn’t pushed her away. That was the bottom line, the only thing that would matter. I had committed a terrible blunder, and I needed to fix it. I looked down at the bouquet of lilies in my hand, hoping that her favourite flowers would calm her down.
The elevator ascended a few more floors as my ears started to feel the drop in the air pressure. "Why the hell does she stay on the twenty-third floor of this building?" I thought to myself, for the millionth time. She could have rented an apartment on the first or second floor, but she was stubborn like that. My Lind was the most headstrong person I knew. She never listened to discouragement from others and always followed her gut. I still remember the day she walked up to me and asked me out while her friends were chuckling in the background. Their shocked faces when I said yes and her wide smile were all I needed to know that I had done the right thing. Our fights were always stupid, and Lind was undefeated in winning them.
My nostalgic smile was immediately wiped off my face, thinking of the fight that was to come. My hands started to feel clammy. I started going over my apology again, trying to calm myself down. I was so distracted that I didn't notice the elevator slow down and completely stop midway between the twentieth and twenty-first floor.
I absentmindedly pressed the 'open doors' button on the elevator. It refused to open. Then the lights went out. I had about the greatest luck out of everyone in the world. I felt around and finally pressed the button I had never thought I would need to press in my life: the emergency button.
"Just great. Just freaking great." I swore loudly under my breath.
I paced for a few minutes inside the small space, racking my brain for a way to get out. I had nothing. I knew that power cuts were common in this part of the neighbourhood, but I had never realised the significance of this fact until this very moment.
I sat down, slowing down my breathing. I needed to be calm. If I was going to get out, I needed to use my head. After a lot of thinking, pacing, trying to remove panels from the elevator, turning the flashlight on in my phone and talking to the camera in the elevator, I realised that the only way that I was going to escape was if I just stay put and wait for the power to come back.
I sat there, feeling lonelier than I had ever felt. Regretting the fact that I had not pushed Evelyn away. Thinking of Linda’s face when she saw us. Remembering how much I loved Lind and couldn’t wait to kiss her again. Tears started pricking my eyes.
"Be a man, bro! Grow up a little! You'll be fine," I said to myself, over and over again. I missed Linda at this moment, more than ever.
I sat there for a while, introspecting. I was unfaithful, incapable of expressing my feelings and about the biggest idiot that ever existed. How did Lind even stand me? She was going to leave me, and I couldn’t and wouldn’t do a thing about it or even argue with her, because that was what I deserved.
This was when I lost it and started crying. At that moment, I was an insecure teenager again, constantly ridiculed for being scrawny and unattractive. Then I had met Linda. She was the first person who had accepted me for who I was and had never criticised me for being myself. I had thrown away the best thing that had ever happened to me, and I couldn’t blame anyone but myself. And Evelyn, of course.
While I was thinking of how best to tackle that irritating girl, I started to hear the voice. People were shouting and banging on the roof of the elevator.
“Help, I’m in here! Please help me!” I screamed my lungs out and started banging back, ignoring my stinging knuckles.
The lights came back on.
I pressed the button to the twenty-first floor, trying to stop my hands from shaking.
The elevator made the most comforting creak and lifted me a few inches, and the doors slid open.
I was almost knocked over by the force of her hug, and I pressed Linda close to me, smelling the familiar scent of lavender shampoo in her hair.
"I'm sorry Lind, I'm sorry Evelyn kissed me, I'm sorry I'm late, I got stuck on the-mmph!" I was cut off by her lips on mine. She pulled apart, giving me a tender kiss on the forehead. "I knew that you could never do something like that to me on purpose, I forgive you. I was so scared for you when I found out that you were stuck on the elevator. Don't ever do that to me again, you hear me?" I nodded, afraid of crying again. “I won’t, I promise.” She smiled, and that was all I needed to see. I gave her the flowers, and she kissed me for what seemed like an eternity. And I was never going to let her go.
Now, I officially have a fear of elevators. But I'll be okay. I have Linda to keep me company.