Stuck In An Elevator

It was a day that started out like any other day. I was up, dressed and ready to leave for work a few minutes ahead of schedule. But traffic on the freeway was really bad, and so I was running late. I never run late. I’m one of those people that would rather be an hour early than one minute late.

I finally pulled into the parking lot about 25 minutes behind schedule, and found a spot surprisingly close to the entrance of the building. As I walked as quickly as I could in heels, I was already going through my mental checklist of things that needed to be done in order to prepare for the meeting with the President of the company in less than a half hour. A meeting I hadn’t prepared for yesterday and thought I’d have time to prepare for this morning. I still had to pull the reports and make copies, I had to type up the notes I had made last week that I hadn’t looked at since, and on and on. I got in the elevator, pushed the button for the 10th floor, and didn’t even notice the woman standing next to me.

I started to check emails on my phone. I was reading the first one which told me that the CFO would be in the meeting as well and that I needed to gather some additional reports. Shit. I would never have the time to get it all done before the meeting.

All of the sudden, there was a jolt and slight bump and the elevator stopped. I looked over at the woman, and realized that I knew who she was.

She was the woman that my dad left my mom for. She was the woman that ripped our family apart. She was the woman who then picked another man over my dad, and left my father broken, alone and feeding an addiction to prescription pills.

There was a flicker of recognition in her eyes just as the telephone rang inside the elevator. She turned quickly and picked it up.

“Hello? Yes, there are two of us in here. Yes, we’re okay. Uh huh. Yes. What? What do you mean possibly hours? Oh. Yes, I understand. Okay, goodbye.”

She turned to me and said coldly “A cable broke and the elevator company has to come out and fix it. It will take them at least an hour to get here, and depending on the problem, we could be stuck in here for several hours.”

And the first thought that flew through my head was “Why is she here? What is she doing in the building I work at?” But what came out of my mouth was “I know who you are.”

“I know who you are, too. This is really uncomfortable and awkward. I’d prefer if we just didn’t speak to each other, as I don’t see the need to. Especially after the way things ended.”

After picking my jaw up off the ground, and although I was seething inside and ready to verbally and physically assault her and her uppity attitude, I did nothing. Because that is what I do. I avoid conflict at all costs. I’m passive agressive and need time to think of ways to attack somebody. Instead of responding, I sat down in the corner, turning my body away from her.

The only thing I did for the first hour was call my boss to explain the situation to him, stew in my anger while I pretended to work on my Blackberry, all while trying to steal glimpses of the woman standing as far away from me as she could in that tiny elevator.

She was frumpy, and her clothes were wrinkled, like she had grabbed them right out of the clothes dryer where they had sat for a week. Her hair was still wet from her morning shower. Her shoes were scuffed and worn. The lines on her face described the hard work she had done for most of her life, or maybe the hard times she had experienced. She was the exact opposite of my perfectly coiffed mother. I saw no similarities, no resemblances. I couldn’t understand what my dad saw in her. She looked hard.

Do you know how slowly time passes when you are stuck in an elevator in complete silence with a person that you don’t even know but hate anyways? Did you know that highly-charged energy caused by uncomfortable silence is almost unbearable? Painful?

The hour passes, then another. During hour number three, I couldn’t take the silence any longer. I turned to her and said “Do you know what you did to my family? Did you know that by carrying on a relationship with a man you knew was married – you knew my mother for God’s sake – you destroyed not only a marriage but relationships within the entire family?”

She turned to me, stood up while crossing her arms, and with a smirk on her face and snark in her tone, she said  “I don’t regret anything that I’ve done. As a matter of fact, I…..”

And that’s when my alarm went off and I woke up.

It was only a dream.

A nightmarish-dream, but a dream nonetheless.

I wasn’t late for work after all.

And so it goes…

Note: This post is pure fiction! My parents are still happily married and have been for 37 years. My dad has never had an affair, and is not addicted to prescription drugs. I’ve never worked in an office building with 10 floors. About the only non-fiction part of this post is that I was never late (before I actually had children, that is!)

Mama's Losin' It
I wrote this post for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop in response to Prompt #1: ….and then I realized it was all a dream.(inspired by Denise from Musings of Mommyland)

I wrote this prompt for the Red Writing Hood. The prompt could be written as either fiction or non-fiction and read: Think of a person you don’t like, and describe what you might say if you had to share an elevator ride together. Then describe what happens when the elevator breaks down. For six hours.


  1. Natalie...another great story (ust a story...thank God)! You do have quite a vivid imagination that pulls the reader in with the first sentence. I could even feel your tension and the coldness of the B.... that broke up our family! Thank you also for the anniversary wishes!
  2. Oh my...I felt my heart clenching in my throat for you, imagining what I would do...that is incredible! Whew. So glad it's fiction.
  3. Oh My!!! NATALIE!!!! I almost needed a glass of wine to continue this one ... holy cow. Keep going ... keep going ...

    (fanTAStic. And, SO GLAD it's fiction. SO SO glad.)
  4. ♥Cari♥ says:
    Wow, that was a great story! I would love to hear more :)
  5. lelisa13p says:
    Oh, you are so evil! :D I was totally prepared for you to lose your passive aggressive handcuffs & give her the what-for. Sucked me right in. Brilliant!
  6. Nicola @Nikkitaasha says:
    Great story!! Would love to hear more :-)
  7. Killing two prompts with one stone! Very smart!
  8. honey, you should SO be a fiction writer! you really had me thinking this really happened to you.
  9. Whoa! I'm happy to know that your dad didn't leave your mom and that he's not addicted to pills! Yikes! Ha, ha!

    I need to look into the Red Writing Hood. I'm NOT a fiction girl, but I see this prompt says it could be a non-fiction tale.
  10. Funkidivagirl says:
    Whew! I'm so glad it was just a dream! Good writing had me on the edge of my seat.
  11. Awesome. Way to tie both of those prompts together. Great description of the "woman".
  12. Wow, good writing.

    But now I want to know how it ends. And not with the alarm clock.
  13. says:
    I'm with Renee.

    More, please!
  14. Belle's Butterfly says:
    So when are you writing your first book? This had me sucked in from the start. Great writing!!
  15. I didn't read Mamakat's prompts this week, but I have followed you long enough to know that this wasn't true! Ha! Great read though.
  16. Do I beat you now or later? You totally had me in that nightmare of a story. So glad to hear it is fiction and you just rock at writing.
  17. Sippy Cup Mom says:
    Natalie, that was a great story! Very well written!
  18. How. Dare. You?!?!?! I was SOOOO rooting for you, pumping my fist, screaming, "GET HER NAT!!!! GET HER!!! AHHHHHHHH! KILL!!!! BLOOD!"

    And then *whew* it was only a dream. And then *WTF* it was fiction?

    See. You are a good writer.
  19. IntentSpirit says:
    That was brilliant! Fabulous writing.. I would read your books for sure and I do not read much fiction, but you are good!
  20. redriverpak says:
    Wow! You had me hooked! That is some truly great writing. I could easily picture everything you were describing. Glad it was just a dream! :)
  21. Bethany @ Organic Enchilada says:
    Fiction or not, I could see you cursing your tardiness. Very believable. :)
  22. Wow - very good! I wanted to keep reading.
  23. Mommy Lisa says:
    Really good. I liked that a lot.
  24. Whoa, Natalie!
    Keep on with the fiction, because you are on fire! This was so real. I was reading, trying to think which prompt you were using, and then got lost in it completely.

    Awesome writing.
  25. Good one!
  26. The Blogging Goddess says:
    Holy Shit. You totally got me. From the beginning, to the waking up to the being fiction. That was fantastic.
  27. I believe you have found your calling.... Fiction. Keep writing. This was a great story. I love the disclaimer at the end. :) Great job.
  28. Funky Mama Bird says:
    OK, you just had me hanging on every. Single. Word. Great job!
  29. But... but... I wanted to know the end!! I love stories! Actually, I just love to read!

    Great story! Keep up the great work!
  30. Nicely done.

    And look at your over achiever. Two for the price of one. :)
  31. Excellent!

    I totally believed every word of it...which means you should definitely do this more often. :)
  32. JustMom420zaks says:
    Ooh, I've never been so glad something was a work of fiction in my life! Good job!
  33. An Authentic Life says:
    Wow. Thank goodness it wasn't really real.

  34. Minivan Mommy says:
    You got me. I totally thought this really happened. And I was going to tell you she was probably kicking herself for looking like crap because I know that whenever I run into someone I don't like it's usually when I look like crap... but I guess she didn't care what he looked like since she;s not real. AH!
  35. The Flying Chalupa says:
    My first thought was, Natalie goes to work every morning? What the hell! And then at the end of the story, I was massively bummed that the character didn't get cathartic release! I mean, what did the b*tch have to say? What? And what was the ultimate response? I'm dyin' here!

    Which obviously means it was a great story.
  36. Great story. I thought it was true at first. Totally had my attention...rapt attention.

    Stopping by from Mama Kat's.
  37. Mommy Needs a Vacation says:
    Love this!! 2 posts in 1!! You over achiever you! But then again, you have already finished your Christmas shopping so we already know that you are an over achiever!! Ha! :-)
  38. blueviolet says:
    Oh my gosh, you totally had me! That was excellent!!!!
  39. The Empress says:
    The best part was all the very funny!

    But, really, you have shown us twice already what a solid, fiction writer you are.

    Very, very very good.
  40. You are a fabulous writer!
  41. Oh my gosh...I kept the heck did this did she get stuck in an elevator for three hours...with the broken cable...with the lady that her dad left her mom had me stressed OUT!! ha ha

    So very glad it's NOT true!
  42. clever girl, combining the 2 prompts :) A nice little story. Simple emotions but still powerful.
  43. Soge shirts says:
    wow you really had me there Natalie. I was really hanging on every word and feeling the anger towards this woman that you were. So glad it was just a dream.
  44. Florida Girl Meets the Midwest says:
    Your take was an original one. I thought it was refreshing that your character found herself a little defeated by the moment. And what a terrible person to have to run into!

    Stopping by from the red dress club.
  45. The Drama Mama says:
    I love it. It sounded so real too. Great writing!
  46. Sluiter Nation says:
    you and your prompts...two! go you!! Loved it!
  47. Man, I was right there with you Nat, ready to give it to that white-trashy tramp! Thank goodness it wasn't real!

    Great job; keep at it!

    Oh, and now I have "Love in an Elevator" stuck in my head....
  48. Jessica Anne says:
    I really want to know what the other woman had to say for herself. Good job!
  49. Gabriele Agustini says:
    Even the title freaked me out!! Good job! :)
  50. Great job with this prompt, Natalie.
    Sometimes fiction feels so much like real life.
  51. Very nicely written! Have you considered making part of a larger story?
  52. Wow, you had quiet the experience with the broken elevator. That is why it is important to make sure the elevators are all running in tip-top shape. Every company should do preventive maintenance on their elevators, to avoid things like this.