By myself, the elevator is a temple, a place to call my own - much better than the bathroom stalls I normally lock myself into when things get to be too much under the office lights. The thick steel doors make the elevator quieter than my toilet refuge, but more likely to intruded upon. I take my moments where I can get them.

1st floor. I lean, slightly stooped, into the railing, closing my eyes like the lids have a mind of their own. 2nd floor. The upward movement is strangely soothing - probably because of the motion instinct that has been drilled into me since birth. A modern instinct. 3rd floor. A city instinct. 4th floor. God forbid a single speck of time be wasted in peaceful stationary thought, but moving thought, thought while getting somewhere - this is still allowed. I thank my lucky stars. 5th floor.

So far so good. No stops, no one to break my wandering thoughts yet. 6th floor. No awkward sighs or hellos, no furtive glances in the giant silver wall-mirror that everyone pretends not to notice. 7th floor. I never know what to say. I always end up running my fingers absently over the same shiny surface, not looking up but wanting to, not scratching my ass but wanting to. 8th floor.

I think of the day stretching before me and pray that this elevator, my elevator, will somehow stop in mid-flight. And why not? A cable could break, a circuit could short out, any tiny malfunction could kick in the emergency stop...even a slight touch of my finger on that big red close to my hand already....oh god, is it ever tempting! A pause in time. I could think here - they would never know. Even if they did, it wouldn't be my fault. 9th floor. The doors open. I step out, put on my face, calm my itchy finger. Perhaps tomorrow...

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