Woodrow Camacho reached with his free hand and pressed the up arrow, requesting the elevator from wherever it was currently toiling. He tugged at the left side of the waistband of his slacks and made a mental note to add this particular pair to the “snug” side of his closet. The lady standing to his right was someone he recognized from the cafeteria but had never spoken to. She was young, probably in her late twenties, a little overweight but dressed to disguise it in a deep blue skirt and jacket accompanied by dark, flat, close-toed shoes. Her blonde hair pulled back tight off her face, held in place by an intricate weave of bobby pins and a couple of hair clips. Her perfume rolled over him faintly as he approached her, citrusy but not overwhelming. She was carrying two bags, a leather attaché for the office and an enormous canvas duffel bag probably for the gym. He smiled as he mentally congratulated her for working out and not letting her weight get out of hand. She didn’t look happy, though, her face worked into a slight scrunch, every angle pointing to her nose. Woodrow smiled and asked, “How’re you doing this morning?”
She glanced at him, cutting her eyes without moving her head to make sure he was addressing her before responding. When she was convinced the question was in her court she sighed and said, sadly, “Oh, you know, it’s Monday so that cuts into any possibility that the morning can be great. Good is the zenith, I’m afraid.”
He chuckled and asked, “So, are you good this morning?”
She looked at him, offered a forced, thin-lipped smile and said, “Not yet.” Then she turned to look at the closed elevator doors.
“Well, it’s early. I hope your day improves.” She didn’t respond so he let her be. When she exited the elevator a few minutes later on the twelfth floor, he thought a prayer for her, asking God to bless her day and give her a taste of joy.
This is one chapter in a series of nine, an experiment in weaving people’s stories into each other, showing cause and affect in how we treat each other regardless of how well we know each other. A casual comment to a stranger may trigger big things but we will probably never know…