This one is for a very dear friend, Ushasri Nannapaneni of Ushasri’s POV. Her Project 52, in which she hosts a writing prompt every week, is a huge motivator for lazy writers like me to pick up the pen and write. This story here is my entry for Prompt 11. This also happens to be my first story where my characters have names and are not addressed using pronouns!
Prompt: In 500 words or less show us someone traveling alone or with others. The trip can also be ahead or behind the character. Why is this journey important to them? What is the destination and what do the travelers expect to find there?
An Elevator Trip to the Altar
It was Simran’s first day at the office. She stood by the floor-length mirrors in the lobby to look at herself. Happy with the way she looked, she started to move towards the two elevators but halted when she saw the exorbitant queue outside both. After everyone in the queue had got into the elevator, Simran’s eyes fell on a young man who, like her, had decided to sit out. Looking dapper in a midnight-blue crisp cotton shirt and beige trousers, he was lost in his cell. Simran seized the moment to look at him a little more; it was difficult to take her eyes away from the elegance he exuded in that simple outfit. She was baffled when he looked up and their eyes met. He gave her a courteous smile; she returned a nervous one. Just then, one of the elevators came to the ground floor and Simran moved towards it. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw him holding the elevator door for her. It was only both of them in the elevator, his spice and musk cologne filling the space. Staring at him in the lobby was fine, but standing here with him in a closed space felt intimate. Simran kept looking at the floor, not finding the courage to look up. When the elevator reached the ninth floor, Simran walked towards her office knowing that all this while his eyes had been on her.
Simran reached at the same time as yesterday and craned her neck to search for him. She blushed when their eyes met. Like yesterday, they both sat out one elevator trip and on the next one, it was only both of them. Like yesterday, Simran reached office knowing that he had not taken his eyes off her.
Like all of last week, it was only them in the elevator; her heart did a happy dance when they exchanged knowing smiles. Simran had missed him over the weekend and today, he was a sight to her sore eyes. “You have weekends off? Didn’t see you here on Saturday”, he said in a voice that did to her what hot chocolate does when poured on vanilla ice-cream. “Yes”, she replied, feeling off-kilter. “I am Manish”, he said extending his hand towards her. “Simran”, she said putting her hand into his. “Nice to meet you”, he said holding her hand and eyes for longer than usual. The left reached the ninth floor. Simran got out, then stopped. Half-turned and smiled at him before going to her office.
Clad in a red anarkali suit, Simran walked out of the elevator. The red sindoor in her hair parting made her glow. Lights fell on her chooda and made them dazzle. She stopped, then turned – fully. Smiled and waved goodbye to Manish, who she was married to two months after he went down on his knees and proposed to her in this elevator.
Leave me your feedback – good and constructive 😉 – in the comments here. You can read the stories by Ushasri and her friends here.