Autumn Art Contest
Theme: Write your own ending
Winner: riki - A City in Twilight
“Tell me about it. I’m going to be late too, and I promise that I would be there early to get the best seat in the house,” the woman commiserated as she stared at the black-out city below her.
“As do I,” the elder man said. His deep voice boomed with authority, which caused the other two to be alert. He quickly pulled out his cell phone and started dialing. “Let me check with the building personnel to see if they know anything.”
They listened attentively as he made his call. “Hello? Yes, I’m calling about that…You see, two of my colleagues and I are stuck in the elevator so we would like to be out as soon as possible. How long do you think it will take? I see… I see… Thank you.” After he hung up, he informed them, “They estimated that it may take up to fifteen minutes to an hour or more to get everything back to normal, depending on how fast the electric company can fix the problem. Until then, I suggest that we make ourselves comfortable as best we can.”
The others nodded and each sat down at a corner as they texted or called someone to inform them of their lateness; the only light they had (besides the bright screen their cell phones) was the stars and moon themselves. Silence filled the tiny elevator as they stared awkwardly at their phones as they tried to pass the time. Finally, after a few minutes, the older man had enough.
“Since we seem that we’ll be here for a while, why don’t we introduce ourselves?” he suggested. “My name is William Abbot, and I’m the Vice President of Marketing. And you?”
The young man went next. “Michael Livingston, and I'm specialized in technology. I mostly work on security issues.”
“Melissa Caldwell,” the woman said, “and I’m in the Finance Department.”
“Nice to meet you,” William said pleasantly, nodding his head to both of them. Turning to Michael, he inquired, “I hope you don’t mind my nosiness, but what are you late for?”
The young man hesitated before he pulled out a small box. “I’m planning to propose to my girlfriend today,” he confessed and opened it up, revealing an engagement ring. "I’m rather nervous, to be honest.”
William gave him an encouraging look. “Don’t be. I’m sure you’ll do well.” He then sighed. “Oh, to be young in love!”
“Are you married, Mr. Abbot?” he asked curiously.
“Call me William; you don't have to be formal with me. And to answer your question, I am,” he nodded. “I’ve been married to my lovely wife for forty-five years now.” His eyes twinkled with amusement as he chuckled. “In fact, today is our anniversary.”
“Wait, so I’ll be proposing on your anniversary?” The old man nodded. “Congratulations! I hope my relationship will last as long as yours.”
“Are you doing anything special to celebrate the occasion?” Melissa inquired.
He answered, “Nothing too fancy. We’re going to a dinner and a show. There’s a play that she always wanted to see so I’m going to treat her.”
“I hope the two of you enjoy yourselves then.” Michael then turned his attention to Melissa. “I guess it’s your turn now. Based on what you said earlier, are you going to watch a play too?”
The woman didn’t answer at first. Instead, she scrolled through her cell phone before holding it up for them to see. A young girl smiled excitedly back at them. “My daughter’s first grade class is presenting a play about the season of fall tonight. Allie plays the part of a leaf. She has one simple line in which she said, ‘Ah, help me! I’m falling!’ My sister and parents told me that she has practiced that line numerous times that even they knew her part by heart,” she explained with a chuckle. “I promise her that I’ll be sitting in the front row to watch her perform. Although it would be nice if I arrive there on ti-””
All of a sudden, the elevator began to jolt before it sputtered and began to move slowly. Slightly startled, the elevator occupants immediately stood up and looked around as the light in the elevator flickered on. Below them, the lights in the city slowly came on again. “It looks like they got the electricity back on,” Michael commented.
“And rather quickly. Even though it seems forever, we’ve been only here for twenty minutes,” William noted as he glanced at his watch. “It seemed that everyone won’t be late after all.”
All of them gave each other congratulatory look. As the elevator moved slowly down, Melissa glanced down at the city lights and commented, “You know what? Even though I’ve been on this elevator every day, I never paid attention to the scenery, but it’s beautiful now that I think about it.”
The two men looked at the sight and had to agree. The city light reminded them of the stars that twinkled above them and gave a magical and calming atmosphere. “It is,” William finally murmured. No one talked afterward, and silence filled the elevator once more. However, there was no awkwardness. Instead, a sense of wonder and awe seemed to engulf the tiny elevator as its occupant admired the scenery below them. No longer were they strangers to each other for all of them shared something in common – a bond that started in a fleeting amount of time.