Hallways and Elevators

December 11, 2008
By
Sometimes I lie awake at night, thoughts of fear and paranoia stream through my mind. Chills run up and down my spine. The memory replays in slow motion I remember the smell of the long hallway and even more the smell of that man. I cringe and erase the thought.

I was eleven years old and thrilled when my mom told me that for spring break, we were going to New York City. It was going to be a girls’ weekend, just my mom, my sister Sara, my grandma, and me. As soon as the plane landed, I fell in love with everything about the big city. Our hotel was in the perfect location, on 37th street, close to Times Square, yet far enough away to get some sleep. I remember standing in the lobby, pacing back and forth in my bright orange zip-up, waiting for the shiny elevator doors to burst open and whisk us up to our room. As I dragged my bags down the long hallway of the tenth floor, I couldn’t wait to start my New York experience.
My thirteen-year-old sister and I squealed when we found out that we were going to see the Broadway production of Hairspray on our third day there. Standing in my pink fuzzy sweater, I waited anxiously for the rest of my family to get ready. I hustled out the door to be the first to tap the down arrow on the outside of the elevators.
As I reached a jittery hand out to watch the small plastic button light up, I realized that I was alone. A man in a green and white rugby shirt and faded blue jeans turned the corner and smiled at me. His pale skin subtly matched the ivory paint on the wall, so that only his icy blue eyes and ruddy cheeks appeared visible. As he slowly walked by, there was something sinister in his smile that made my stomach hurt. I shook off the bizarre feeling and turned to meet my mom, grandma, and sister.
As the wind pushed us onto the street, we joined the rest of the crowd, like a school of fish. I breathed in the fumes of the street and sighed at the unseen beauty around me. The sky was a beautiful dark blue and the lights of the buildings decorated the street. Keeping up with the foot traffic was tough. I lost my mom a few times, but faithfully listened for the clacking of her heels to redirect me. We sauntered swiftly down the sidewalk while searching for the entrance on Broadway.
I excitedly entered the theater and took my seat in the center of the upper deck. After joining in on the standing ovation, we shuffled out of the theater and back on to the cold cement sidewalk. I complained that my feet ached from my uncomfortably new shoes. Every block, I let out an impatient groan as I tried my best to avoid tripping. After what felt like a century, we managed to all get back safely in the hotel lobby. Ever the over-achiever, I pressed the magic button that opened the doors before the rest of my family was even next to me. I held the door open as we all filed on and threw my head back with excitement that I would soon get to take off my shoes. As we stepped over the threshold of the elevator on the tenth floor, I noticed there was an eerie silence encumbering the hallway. Boldly, I began to walk right on down the hallway. Our room was at the very end. As I began the trek down the hallway I realized the only thing between us and our room was the man standing in front of the door of the room right next to ours. As we got closer, my stomach did back-flips and I realized it was the same, creepy man from earlier, still in his rugby shirt, with the same razor-short strawberry blonde hair, but something had changed. He wasn’t smiling that wanton smile. I turned to grab the plastic white room key from my mom, and I saw her eyes flicker.
As I swiftly walked by him, I inhaled his pungent aroma. He smelled of cigars and a considerable amount of whisky. He was teetering back and forth from one white K-Swiss shoe to the other. My eyes intensely followed his pale hands as I stared at him. He was mumbling something in a British accent as he tried hopelessly to jam a hotel key into the impossibly thin silver slot on the door. The same red light kept beeping and his frustration was visibly increasing.
For some reason, whether out of sheer generosity or compassion, my mom smiled and said sweetly, “Do you need help?” He simply nodded and half smiled his stupid little grin as he clumsily handed her his key. She stepped forward toward his door. At this point, I had opened our door and my sister and I stood watching the bizarre scene. “Did he just smell her?” I asked my sister as I watched the man lean in towards my mom’s neck. She didn’t respond. We could tell by the pained expression on my mom’s face that her senses were finally starting to kick in. She told him that she was sorry but she thought he had the wrong room. He frowned and shouted, “No, no, no. This is my room.” She turned quickly and jogged the few feet towards our room as we looked on in horror. In a matter of seconds he was standing on the threshold of our door, demanding to come in. I panicked. My mind was racing and I felt sick. My legs felt like jelly as I stumbled backwards. My grandma began to scream for help as the man increased his force and fought his way past the door. He lunged toward my mom. I opened my mouth to yell and then suddenly, my sister came out of nowhere. She sprinted into him and punched him as hard as she could in the groin. His icy blue eyes bulged and he staggered back, letting out a groan. Something automatically clicked in my brain as my legs unlocked themselves and I rushed forward to help my sister. As this point he was in pain, not to mention incredibly drunk. All four of us worked to push him out of the door. Amazingly, he still resisted until we finally slammed the door on his face. He pounded on the door and yelled belligerently until hotel security was conjured up to our room to take him away. We watched as they dragged his unwilling body down the hallway.
After securing our room and triple checking the locks, we managed to persuade ourselves to fall asleep. However, I stayed up a while replaying the night’s events over and over again. The security guard had told my sister and I that we were very brave little girls. “Be careful,” he said, “You never know what kind of people are out there.”





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cupcake420 said...
Aug. 17, 2010 at 11:37 pm

i love that last line of this story i coudnt agree more about trusting people you nevewr know people for who they are .........  but some time you think you do but they change in just a blink of a eye ... its like a game you have to pick and choose carefully who let in your world ... thats all i have to say :]

 

 
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