He never took the elevator before, his apartment being on the second floor, he normally took the stairs. Today was different, today he decided to take the elevator.
It was nothing strange or curious that inspired him to take the elevator today, it was merely a whim, simply that lucky moment where the elevator opens just for you while you walk nearby. Why not take the opportunity and ride the elevator if the universe made it so easy for me to do.
Stepping into the elevator was like second nature for me. I press the button to take me up to the second floor. The doors take a very long time to close. I don’t feel any movement, only the initial tug of the lift when it first starts to rise. A few moments still, the light shines a bright number two, circled inside a button.
I feel the elevator come to a halt. The doors take a while to open but they also must give in to time.
He takes a long time to exit the elevator. As soon as the doors open he rushes out of the box. Walking toward his door to the right of the elevator.
I rattle my keys trying to get into the door. Inside the darkness I can sense someone ahead of me.
I try to turn the light on but instead touch someone’s hand, or does someone’s hand touch mine. I’m not sure of what it is I’m feeling right now. The warm hand holds there as I turn the light on behind closed eyes. The brightness of the light burns over my eyelids until I see splashes of yellows and reds slowly fading into deeper browns and purples.
I open my eyes to meet myself staring back into my eyes. I feel like I am both people at once. I look away from myself and stumble backward, trying to get to my feet. I see my doppelgänger also stumble backwards to get to his feet. We are both alike, very clumsy. I feel that I shouldn’t be afraid of anything, especially including myself.
I extend my hand to shake his. He watches me with a scrutinizing glare, while I try my best to figure him out.
“I guess we’re going to run around in a circle if one of us doesn’t speak first.”
“I was thinking along those lines, I was just debating over if I should say it or not.”
“Maybe you’re just…”
“cautious? No I think your’e either more brave or are just a few seconds ahead of me mentally”
“What do you mean by that one?”
“What do you… Ah I see what”
“I see what you mean.”
They stopped talking for a short while. They both got themselves together, took their shoes off, and walked into the apartment.
He’s wearing the same things as me. Does that mean he just came into the house before me? Was it the elevator?
“I didn’t take the elevator.”
There was a third person in the room with them, he already sat comfortably in his home clothes, listening to the others make their way into his home.
“Both of you did.”
“I confess, I took the elevator.”
“So that means you two are the clones, so you need to leave. I can’t feed more than myself right now.”
“How did this happen? I was just going home.”
“This can’t be! I’m not the clone here!”
“You two need to be quiet. Look just leave and come back after a short walk. Don’t take the elevator and it will start to make sense, alright?”
“Fine I’ll leave first.”
“Why do you go first? I was ahead of you.”
“Stop! Stop! Stop!”
They all went quiet listening for one to speak up.
“You don’t need to figure anything out. One of you just leave using the elevator and the other one takes the stairs. Walk around for a few minutes, maybe thirty to forty minutes total. Then simply come back, and don’t use the elevator this time. You’ll be back at your house and no one else will be there to meet you.”
“Does that work for you two or do you need me to explain it better?”
They nodded in agreement and went to put their shoes back on. The third ushered them out of his home. He locked the door behind the two that left.
One of them went down the stairs and the other went into the elevator.
The elevator doors finally closed. I hear the movement gear up as the elevator drops one floor. I wait again for the doors to open slowly.
I can’t hear anyone in the hallway, knowing him he’s probably walking around outside. I can afford to take some time. I walk out of the elevator and take to the right hallway, leading me outside of the building.
There is nobody else outside. I make a left and walk a few minutes around my neighborhood. I walk several blocks to a park. I sit on a park bench watching people pass me by and pigeons fighting for bread crumbs left behind from a past moment, a past action.
After several minutes of not caring I finally get up off the bench and walk back home. My entire walk took me about fort minutes, with five minutes to spare to get back home.
The elevator isn’t waiting for me this time. I walk up the stairs, enter my door and find no one else was inside my house. I’m still not sure if what I saw this day was real or not. I just know that I won’t be able to take an elevator alone anywhere again.