Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Praying In the Elevator

After receiving a positive response from my last short story, I decided to give it another go. Maybe I'll try to do this once a week, or at least once a month. We shall see. Thanks for reading. Here is the prompt:

Fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator with an intriguing stranger. Write this scene. 

I was trembling as I walked out of the doctor's office. My hands shook as I shuffled through my purse, desperate to find my cell phone and keys. I had to call my parents and tell them the news.

I have cancer.

I knew it. I had ignored the signs for months, but finally decided to suck it up and see my doctor. And on a sunny, spring day, I got the news.

I have cancer.

I decided I couldn't call my parents just then. I would have to do it in person. How would I ever find the strength, though? I couldn't possibly look them in the eye and tell them I was dying.

Right now, I just had to get out of this doctor's office. I finally found my keys, took a deep breath and stepped into the elevator.

In the corner of the elevator stood a teenage girl. She was wearing a Rolling Stones Tshirt and a black tutu with black leggings underneath. Her blue hair was up in a messy bun and her arms were swimming in elastic bracelets. As a high school teacher, I saw girls dress like this all the time. Some silly phase they went through, desperate for attention. The girl was crying, hysterically.

Pushing my own problems aside, I took a deep breath and put my hand on the girls shoulder.

"Is everything okay?", I asked.

She winced at my touch, gave me an evil glare, and plopped down on the floor. "Do I look okay, idiot?" she mumbled, plugging her headphones in.

My veins filled with rage. Here I was, after getting the worst news of my life, how dare this stranger give me an attitude?

The elevator made a loud, ear piercing screechy noise and suddenly came to a halt. The lights went out.

"Oh my god!" The girl screamed.

"You have GOT to be kidding me". I said, out loud, and then started laughing.

"Just what is so funny?" She asked, trying to intimidate me.

I ignored her question and then I, too, plopped to the ground, and tried to fish out my cell phone from my purse to call for help. No such luck. No service.

"I guess we're stuck" I suggested.

"Yeah; no shit, Sherlock" she mouthed back.

We were both quiet for a while, until I heard her sniffling and, when I looked over, I caught her wiping away tears.

"Look I know I'm just a stranger, but is there something I can help you with?" I asked.

"You can get me the hell out of this elevator" she replied, not looking me in the eye.

Brace yourself, Bridget, I thought. "Well, princess, I would love too. If I had some sort of magical power to make this thing move, I would. But sadly, I slept through that class at Hogwarts so I'm fresh out of ideas".

With that, she began to laugh. "Nice Harry Potter reference" she spat out, in between giggles.

"Glad you found it funny", I said, starting to giggle myself.

For the first time, the girl looked up at me, like she was just now seeing that I was not a threat. "I'm Jess", she squeaked out, smiling.

Jess' sudden shift in attitude led me to believe that she was just a sweet girl going through a phase, like many of my students. Her giggles were a welcomed change from the attitude she gave me just seconds before. I sure did not miss being a teenager and having those mood swings.

"Nice to meet you, Jess. My name is Bridget." I took out a pack of gummy bears from my purse and offered her some. Jess' eyes widened as she reached in and grabbed a handful.

We were quiet for a while, each of us chewing our gummy bears and looking down at the ground.

"I'm pregnant". Jess blurted out, and began to cry again. "I just found out. I'm only 14. My parents are going to kill me".

She told me the whole story. How her much older boyfriend, Kyle, was kind of a jerk and told her he was going to break up with her if she didn't have sex with him. That she suspected she was pregnant and confided in her best friend who then stopped speaking to her. It was a lot for a 14 year old, and now she had to worry about what her parents might say. They were "uber strict" according to Jess and she was panicking that they would throw her out of the house.

I suddenly felt heart broken for her. I reached over and put my arm around her skinny shoulders. "You're going to be okay", I kept saying, over and over.  And then, with a little bit of bravery, I asked her "Do you want me to pray with you?"

Jess stopped crying and looked up at me in shock. "No one's ever said something like that to me before....I don't really like, believe in that stuff." she said, skeptical.

I smiled and took her hands into mine. I asked God to sprinkle courage onto Jess so that she would have the strength to tell her parents the truth and to ask them for their support. I asked that her parents be open and patient. And finally, I asked that Jess and the baby remain healthy.

"Amen". We both said, in unison when the prayer was finished.

I didn't mean to say what I said next. Jess had dropped a bomb on me, it didn't mean I had to do the same thing. And yet, it just slipped out.

"I have cancer". I said, out loud, for the first time since I found out.

And then it was my turn to cry. I was sobbing, actually, and when Jess asked if I was scared I said "I'm scared to tell my parents".

In a very quiet voice, Jess suggested "Maybe we should pray for you, too, then". And she did. The baby carrying a baby took my hands and led us in a prayer asking for strength, courage, and healing.

As soon as our prayer was finished, the elevator jumped and the doors opened. Two maintenance men stood there, watching us. Jess and I grabbed our things and ran out to the parking lot.

Once we were out of the office building, I took Jess' hand and squeezed it tight. "Good luck, princess. I'll be praying for you".

Jess wrapped her arms tightly around my waist, sobbing hysterically. "Good luck, Bridget. I'll be praying for you, too. Please don't die".

"I'll try not too, but I may have to go back to Hogwarts to learn some real magic for that one".

It was strange, the bond I felt with that teenage girl, a stranger. After just a few minutes in the elevator, I felt a very strong connection to her. I watched her hop on her bike and take off down the road, and while I watched, I couldn't help but wonder if I would ever see her again.

11 months later, I was back at the doctor's office for my usual check up. My mom was with me, driving me to and from like she did all of my appointments. After this appointment we were going to look at wigs, since my hair was falling out quickly due to the chemo.

When we got in the elevator, I gasped as I saw Jess, holding a beautiful baby girl.

"Bridget!" Jess exclaimed, her smile taking over her whole face.

"Jess! Hey! You look so great!" And she did. Her once blue hair was now brown, and she was sporting a clean, fresh face. She ditched the punk outfit for a yellow sundress. "And she is just precious" I said, admiring the little one. "Does she have a name?"

A woman who had been standing next to Jess intervened "Same as yours. Bridget. Hi, I'm Jess' mom, Marie. Jess has not stopped talking about you since the day she met you in this elevator".

Jess spoke up, saying, "I can't believe we're running into you here. I didn't know how to find you so I keep praying that I will somehow see you again. This is so weird! It's like magic."

I put my arm around her and said "No, princess, it's like God."


Dee @ A Deecoded Life said... Add Reply

Beautiful touching story. :)
It's a great idea to write fiction every week.

Rob-bear said... Add Reply

Wow! What a powerful story. Left me kinda in tears. Which is pretty strange for a Bear. Lots of power in that story. Great parallels.

I have thoughts and dreams like that, too, sometimes. Maybe I should try writing fiction.

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting, Life in the Urban Forest (poetry).

Unknown said... Add Reply

Wow. absolutely Beautiful! It has been awhile since I've read something so descriptive and faithfilled! Keep it up!

Kinley Dane said... Add Reply

Great job! I was completely hooked into the story. I love that you made it Christian, but not preachy. Very well done!

Christine said... Add Reply

Thanks for've been blessed with the gift of being a talented writer...Words can be very powerful, and sometimes, inspirational. I hope you'll keep writing much more than once a month! You never know who you'll inspire. :)