Friday, February 04, 2011

Fiction Friday: "Her Laugh Broke the Silence"

This started from another writing prompt, that I shall refer to as "writing prompt #343": Start your story with the line Her laugh broke the silence. Here is what I came up with...

Her laugh broke the silence. We’d been trapped in the elevator for nearly an hour and for some reason, until she started to laugh, we hadn’t uttered a word, much less a sound. I know, it doesn’t just seem strange, it is strange. I am normally very sociable and start conversations with everyone, everywhere. On this particular day though, I just was not myself. I was on my way to hear a reading of my grandfather’s will and from the moment I stepped onto the elevator, I felt almost paralyzed by thoughts of grandpa and having to accept that he was gone. I don’t even think I realized the elevator stopped moving until we had been stuck for ten minutes.

As for her, Celia – that’s her name, she was going to visit a lawyer to handle an abuse case. Turns out, she was frightened for her life because she was trapped in an elevator with a man and while normally, that wouldn’t have been an issue, recalling the reason she was in this building was enough to petrify her into silence and disconnect.

58 minutes and 43 seconds after walking onto the elevator, I’m not nuts, I just recall the reading on the digital clock in the elevator that read 9:00:00 when I stepped on, to go six floors, a voice came through a shiny, nickel plated speaker mounted above the control panel, “we apologize for the inconvenience and are sorry that we were unable to communicate with you sooner…” That was it – not another sound or word from the speaker and about five seconds later, the elevator began to move again and Celia started laughing; uncontrollably, with a loud and infectious laugh that soon got me to start laughing.

When the laughter ran its course, we introduced ourselves and decided to meet up for coffee after our meetings were through. It’s hard to believe that was 30 years ago – retelling the story of how we met at our silver wedding anniversary celebration brought back many good memories. I suspect grandpa was watching then and is still watching now; I know he’s smiling down on us and our children.

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