close encounter

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: February 10, 2019

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Submitted: February 10, 2019

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He steps into the elevator, looks at me briefly and smiles, then comes to stand next to me. The doors closes and as the lift begins to descend I feel him glance to look at me again. I meet his eyes and am about to speak when the lights flicker and the lift comes to a halt. For a moment we are in complete darkness and I hold my breath, trying to push down the panic rising in my throat. I can feel the heat of him next to me as our eyes wander around, adjusting to the darkness. All I can hear is our breathing.

 

The emergency lights flick on and we look at each other again. A power cut, it must be. We both reach for the emergency button at the same time and or hands touch for a second. He looks at me and smiles before moving his hand leaving me to press it. Nothing happens and no one answers.

 

'I guess we will just have to wait' he says as he exhales and puts his hands in his pockets, looking resigned but unconcerned.

 

 

I give him a brief smile before leaning back against the side of the elevator and closing my eyes, trying to control my breathing. I force my mind to picture myself somewhere else, not here trapped in this metal box. I try and imagine the soothing sound of the sea and feel wind blowing against my skin but the image keeps getting pushed vator. Its like I can feel the sides closing in around me, and the oxygen leaving the room. I try to drag in some deep breaths qu, feeling on edge and embarrassed that I am on the threshold of a panic attack infront of him. He must notice my breathing or the tension radiating from my body, because he turns and moves closer, asking if m ok.

 

I am not ok. My mind is racing with terrible possibilities and a deep heavy feeling of dread lays on my chest. He expects an aswer though and I meet his gaze, reluctantly opening my eyes and visually reminding myself how small the space is I find myself in.

 

I look at his eyes and they are a beautiful grey blue, like the sea I couldn’t keep hold of in my minds eye.

 

'I'll be ok, I just don’t like small spaces' and I give an apologetic smile. He seems totally relaxed and at ease, and I feel envious of that calm. As he looks at me though I can tell he is about me.

 

I register this and at the same time my eyes dart around the small space I am trapped in and my breathing hitches and accelerates. I don’t want to deal with his concern or put on a brave face. I want to crumple into a ball and scream. I want to push and slam against the walls fighting to get out; I feel utterly like prey that has been cornered.

 

deep and slow, and as I do my breath rattles and staggers. I start to feel and my hands go numb.

 

I hear him step forward as he says 'hey..look at me.'

 

 

I open my eyes, angered by the demand. I am trying so hard to control my panic I detest the interruption.

 

But then he moves so close to me we are almost touching. He stands in front of me and puts both hands either side of my head and looks down at me.

 

'Just look at me and breathe with me' he says, so softly. He takes on of my hands and places it on his chest, and I feel uncertain and ill at ease. But I look up at him and feel his calm breath beneath my hand and try to match my rhythm with his. He is crowding me but also protecting me, and as I look at him I can feel some of the panic ebbing away. I concentrate on the feel of his chest slowly rising and falling under the soft fabric of his shirt. I study his face as the scent of his aftershave fills me. His eyes reflect none of my fear, and I slowly trace their outline, noticing where the colour fades from blue to grey and back again. I notice a small dark freckle above his left eyebrow, and can smell the recently used shampoo in his hair. I trace the outline of his short beard with my eyes, down to his neck and watch his adams apple shift as he swallows. We stand there for a while and my breathing begins to slow. He begins to stoke the side of my face with one hand, and after a beat it starts to feel reassuring. I can feel myself calming as I continue to stare up at him, into his eyes, like I could swim into them.

 

For a moment I forget where I am and as the panic dissites I feel an electricity. He notices it too and moves fractionally closer, so our noses are almost touching. His eyes bore into mine and I respond with my own eally intense gaze. I can feel the blood pulsing through every inch of me as my breathing and his start to accelerate slightly. I can feel his breathon me, and I want to reach up and touch him, but my arms feel leaden and heavy. He moves his hand down my face and softly brushes my lips with his thumb. I lean into his touch, relishing it and I hear him take in a breathe, more sharply than before.

 

I move my hand up from his chest to rest on the side of his face, and I trace my thumb along the edge of his beard. My still roaming hand reaches further up to the back of his neck where I entwine my fingers in his hair. I coax him closer to me and our noses touch first and I am almost paralysed by anticipation. Our lips touch and we lean into each other slowly, each of us breathing in the closeness and revelling in the thrill of the moment.

 

We are so lost in each other that the sudden movement of the elevator startles us. We are descending again and the lights come on full force, invading that quiet moment with its invasive glare. He drops his hand from my face and takes a step back, giving me a shy smile and running one hand through his hair. The hand that had but moments ago been resting against my lips. I straighten myself up touching my hand to my mouth. We both stand side by side now glancing at each other, unsure of what to say.

 

When the doors finally open I feel relief first, waves of it washing over me as I realize I can breathe again. But I linger for a second, looking for a reason to stay.

 

'You first' he says with a knowing smile and I ease myself out of the elevator. He follows close behind and catches up to me and we head to the exit together. Our hands brush together as we walk side by side and the touch excites me.

 

I look up at him and say 'thank you', a brief and somewhat confused smile playing across my lips.

 

He nods, 'anytime' and we part ways, leaving in opposite directions.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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