We’re Trapped in here aren’t we?

Victoria Caine and Hailey Hartman

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       My heels click against the contact of the concrete floor. I can hear the echo drift off into the distance like a boat sailing away to sea. My dress flows from the single gust of wind that found its way down into the concrete wall of this parking garage. My mother trails just behind me, we are on our way to see my favorite musical. I have been wanting to see this musical for so many years now, every time I listen to the songs they carry me to their beautiful world of music, and I can find myself listening to them for hours. We are making our way across the parking garage when I find myself face to face with the most rustic elevator ever.

      I stop in my tracks. My mother catches up to me and asks, “What’s wrong?” She follows my gaze to the archaic steel box.

      “Can we take the stairs?” I ask, my voice barely leaving my mouth in a whisper. She rolls her eyes so hard I’m not even sure how they didn’t get stuck in the back of her head.

      “I’m not going to travel on foot more than I have to with these on.” She points to her very tall high heels.

      “I’m already getting blisters,”  and with that she presses the faded button going up, and after a few seconds the rustic door opens, and I cautiously step inside. My mother’s hand on the small of my back ushering me inside.

      Parking on the lowest floor of this concrete cave was not in my favor. I feel my grip on the metal bars grow tight, I look at my hands and my knuckles are practically as white as paper. My breathing grows quicker and the feeling of leaving my stomach behind have started to kick in. My mother must have noticed my fast uneven breaths because she gives me a sideways glance saying to me with only her eyes, “Calm down it’s just an elevator,” in the most comforting way. The elevator finally goes to a stop, my grip falters, my breathing slows and my stomach has caught up with me. I look at my mother stops and looks confused.

      “What?”  I ask happily and quickly step outside of the doors once they have opened, she follows me out and we see other people walk into the elevator as we walk away. My mother stops an looks around. Then she finally says what’s going on in her mind,

      “We got off on the wrong floor,” 

      “What?” I ask her very confused, and my nervousness in having to get back in the elevator come rushing back to me.

      “We still need to go up four more levels.” 

      “I’m not going back in there!” I shout. My voice echos around the vast concrete garage.

      “I want to take the stairs. Please!” I shout again. My mother glares at me and once again presses the faded button going up.

      “You can walk up four more flights of stairs on your own if you want to, but I’m going to take this perfectly fine elevator. It’s only four more levels, Mikaela.”  I reluctantly hang my head and when the doors open once again I step inside. I walk over to the corner of the elevator and hold on to the metal bars. Just as the doors are about to close I hear old voices shouting. One as soft as a rabbits pelt, the other as rough as a cliff side.
“Wait, Wait!” Through the crack of elevators doors an arm pushes the doors apart. An older man and women step inside, then the doors reseal themselves.

      I’m trying to keep my composure as the back of the older woman presses against my arm. As we travel upwards I feel myself growing more comfortable with the feeling of the elevator, yet still completely over my fear of the wires holding this up snapping or getting stuck in here with people my mother and I don’t know, but at least my breathing isn’t at a leap out of my chest fast, my hands are resting slightly on top of the metal bars, and the feeling of losing my stomach three levels down doesn’t haunt me anymore. We arrive on the right floor this time and I politely step to the front of the elevator and wait for the doors to open. A few moments go by and they haven’t opened yet. Suddenly there is an audible click and a sound of steel clashing. My breath quickens once again as we are on the correct floor, but the doors to my freedom don’t break open. I grab hold of my mother’s arm and look at her. She has a calm face but I catch the slight glint of worry in her eye. After a few more silent moments my worry turns into panic fully realizing that we are stuck in an elevator, stuck in my worst fear. My heart is racing in my chest. The elderly man looks around and their eyes find me and my mom, and with his uneven voice says,

      “We’re stuck here aren’t we?”  I ask. 

What kind of question is that?” my mom answers. 

 “We are stuck in an elevator aren’t we?” No duh smart one. I look at my mother questionably.

“What do we do?” my voice cracks as the last word leaves my mouth. She comforts me with a reassuring look. She ushers her way through the couple, both looking happy like we aren’t just stuck in a seven by five steel box! My mother makes it to the button panel of the elevator and presses a glowing button labeled “call.” All four of us stand silently, waiting for someone to pick up. Suddenly a benevolent female voice starts talking,

      “Hello, are you alright?”

“Yes, yes we’re fine. We’re stuck, the doors to the elevator won’t open there are four of us in here. Could you please send help as quickly as possible?”

      “Of course people are on their way. My mother walks over to me and pulls me into a warm inspirited embrace. After I have somewhat calmed myself I check my phone.

“Mom! The show starts in only an hour and a half!” My emotion shifts like a light switch. Once scared and frightened, now sad and angry that my mother and I didn’t take the stairs, and that we are going to miss our show. I have begged to go to this show since forever. Now I may not be able to see it, not to mention I’m stuck in my worst nightmare.

      I’ve been sitting in the same corner of this elevator for so long my whole lower portion of my body is numb. I’ve been keeping track of the time. The clock slowly ticking away my chance of seeing this musical wonder. 50 minutes left, 50 minutes until the show. I try to keep my hopes up, but in the back of my mind the dark thought of just missing the theatre doesn’t leave my head. Finally I can hear voices outside of the frozen doors. The maintenance is here! Playing on my phone and watching the time slowly pass by, like watching paint dry. Ten minutes left. After what feels like an eternity of being trapped I hear the sounds of clicking and hammering through the doors, then I can finally see the beautiful colors of the outside world. As soon as the doors are pried open enough for me to squeeze out I slip my body through. Thanking the Lord my mother and I weren’t dead.

      We wait to thank the maintenance and wave goodbye to the elderly couple and rush to our show. We walks as fast as we can along the sidewalks of San Francisco. After about eight excruciating minutes of our fast paced walking, we arrived with only two minutes to spare. My mother goes to the bathroom then we rush to our seats. Once we are seated I huff,

      “We are taking the stairs next time,” she glared at me pointedly, but this time doesn’t object.