THE ADVENTURE TO THE TOP
(or the Adventure of the Little Boy and the Young Lady in the Elevator)
The little boy enters the elevator alone.
His curly, black hair is perfectly framing his little, round face, and only his little black eyes seem to want to say something. But they keep quiet. In frustration.
He’s looking at the young lady in the elevator, and, his mouth agape, as if wanting to utter the unthinkable, he pushes the last button. The young lady is looking at him, wondering what his story is. Does he have a story? He must have a story, anyone entering the elevator and pushing the last button must have a story! And then, why is he riding the elevator alone? Why has he pushed the last button, the one no one has pushed in a long time?…
She stays in her corner, her arms crossed at her chest, flipping an imaginary coin whether she should talk to the little boy or not.
‘If it’s tail, I’ll tell you my story’, says the little boy, as if reading her mind, as if literally seeing that coin flipping in the mind of the young lady.
‘It’s tail’, lies the young lady.
‘Oh’, sighs the little boy. He sits on the floor, against the wall on the right of the door and seems to be ready to start telling his story.
‘It’s a story about frustration, you know?’, he says.
‘I thought you were supposed to leave your frustration outside the elevator. Wasn’t this the rule?’
He is silent for a moment.
‘Yeah, but I want to take it to the Top! And leave it there, so that no one can find it! No one should be frustrated. It’s a very frustrating feeling.’
She smiles a little, but then she gets back to being serious and impenetrable, like a lady. Besides, there should be no exchange of emotions in the elevator. It said so on the sign above the mirror.
‘Will you come with me to the Top?’
The little boys looks up to her, with a big “please” in his eyes, and she knows she is going with him to the Top. She knew it even before she had entered the elevator. She knew it ever since she had woken up that morning. It might have been the dream. Who knows? Who cares? She’s here now, with him, they’re going to the Top, to get rid of the frustration, and she decides this is going to be the adventure of her life! The biggest one! The one she won’t get to tell to her grandchildren.
‘We have a long way to go, why don’t you start telling me your story? It was a tail, after all.’
She feels like sitting on the floor too, but she is a lady, it would be inappropriate. She just changes her weight from the left foot to the right.
‘Do you want a candy?’, she asks him with a yellow voice. The yellow voice was the emotionless one when offering a candy. She would stick to the rules. It was for the best.
‘No, thanks, I have bad teeth’, he lies. Candies would always remind him of his father. He would give him candies when he wanted him to leave him alone.
‘So? The story?’
‘Well, there’s not much to tell, you know? I’m only five. I’m going to the Top. That’s pretty much it.’
‘Where did you get that frustration from?’
‘If you didn’t come with me to the Top, I’d think you are a cop. My father was a cop. He never had time for me. He used to give me candies.’
He bends his head, and she could feel his sadness. Not his frustration, though. She knows he has it with him, but it’s not palpable, as if it died when he got it in the elevator.
‘You know? We can always stop here. Or here. No need to go to the Top.’
He seems to be thinking of something, he can’t hear her. And she knows he will never tell her. She also knows that he’s decided to go to the Top. She knows there’s nothing for him to go back to. If someone wants to go to the Top after only five years… What could she do? What anyone could do? She is only happy she’s there for him.
It’s a long way to the Top!