Author: Katherine S Sanger
Do you know what it’s like when you’re at a hotel, and you’re already nervous because every hotel you’ve ever stayed at reminds you of The Shining, and then you get in the elevator in the lobby, and you see a man striding towards the elevator bank, and he’s mostly hidden in the shadows, but you can make out that he’s big, over six feet tall and muscled like the football player you dated in college, and he’s wearing a well-cut suit and there’s nothing wrong with him, and he’s not hurrying, but you worry that he’s hurrying, and you worry that something’s wrong, and so you press “5” and the “Close Doors” button, and you hold it, waiting to be sure they close, and just the thought of sharing the elevator with him makes you breathe more quickly, like he’s already sucking the oxygen and carbon dioxide from your lungs, and you stare at the “Emergency” button with its little note that says “Will flash when help responding,” and you wonder how long it would take for help to respond, but the door does finally close and you’re alone, and the elevator is gliding upwards, that small space that is comfortingly claustrophobic with its wood paneling and tile floor, heading up to your room and your sanctuary and your safety, but then you think he’s down there, watching where the elevator stops, and he’s going to follow you to your floor and somehow divine which room is yours, and so, as fast as you can, while the elevator is climbing, you also press the “4” and the “6,” and when the elevator lands at the “4,” you close the doors again, and then you’re at your floor (thank God!), and you can’t help but survey the long hallway (its ugly blue and red paisley carpeting, its lightly glowing sconces, its table with the lobby phone), but he’s not there, of course, and neither is anyone else, and the elevator is already closed and gone, and you make it to your room, and your room is empty but housekeeping has made the bed and left you more coffee and sugar and emptied your trashcans, and things are completely normal – normal! – and that’s when you throw the locks and you realize you need to go back down to the lobby to grab something to eat because you’re suddenly so hungry, and you open the door, and the man is there, somehow, and you look at him, and you know that’s it, it’s over, your life is going to end, there will be no flashing before your eyes because the world around you is already turning black as his suit, black as his eyes, black as a night that you could never see before because you used to have life and light in your eyes, and everything just stops, and you fall, and he catches you and takes a part of you while leaving the rest behind, sprawled out over the threshold like a bride dropped by her groom or a bird that flew into a sliding glass window – that! – do you know what that’s like?