I’d met her in the elevator 100’s of times, but never ever outside it.
We existed together in that small box of space but nowhere beyond it.
I once wondered if 2-minute conversations, Mondays to Fridays, for about 10 years counted as a kind of friendship and thought that one day I might do the math.
Not a lot of time, but still…maybe knowing how little we had forced us to the heart of the matter in seconds. Maybe that’s what made pretense and small talk so necessarily impossible.
Right from the very first, we clicked. She had a briefcase as old as Moses, a best friend who made her crazy and hair she said was bi-polar. We could have been sisters.
I think that’s another reason why we told our life stories the way we did: no holds barred – clipped and concise, punctuated by blinking numbers. Ground floor, capital letter – my floor, end of sentence. Done. We said what mattered most to us then and there and that was all – the way families do, or wish they could.
I remember the day she said, “I’m moving.”
It almost felt like shock. I hope I said I’d miss her. I know if I did it was true. We’d bared our souls during those rides and it felt strange to realize how integral a part of my life they’d become.
“One last thing”, she said, “don’t try so hard.”
I froze– stuck in-between “stop” and “up”, in one of those places where there are no numbers, no advance warnings – just sudden truths and unexpected reminders of what makes us human: the dreams, the fears, the things we think we hide, but never do…not quite, not really, mostly because part of us longs not to.
“You mean try soft instead? You have GOT to be kidding.”
“Start today.” she said.