The elevator got stuck between the 32nd and the 33rd floor.
35 minutes had already passed. A voice from the speakers said that the personnel was sorry for the inconvenience and that he had just to keep calm and to kindly wait until the technicians would have fixed the problem, there was nothing to worry about, “you-are-safe-sir”. There was a little beep and then the music started over again: it was a never ending loop of three Celine Dion’s songs of which he was unintentionally memorizing part of the lyrics.
The elevator was one of those glass capsule designed in the 80s, with a dark gray moquette and some blue light spots in the false ceiling. From there he could look at the city skyline and at the little white sails randomly scattered between the island and the cost of the hazy bay.The air-conditioning system had stopped working with the black-out and it was starting to get warmer. He unknotted the tie and he sat on the floor looking down at the people walking on the sidewalks and at the cars starting and stopping at the crossroad. He could also see his fixie, that he had locked in front of the starbucks at the corner of the street. He was happy that it was still there.
His iPhone started vibrating in his pocket, it was his mother. He waited a bit, staring at the screen, then he decided to answer:
-… Hi mum.
– Hi baby, how have you been? You should call more often you know we…
– Yeah I know, it’s just I’ve been really busy: the apartment, the job…
– Yeah, we know. So how was your interview? Was it today, right?
– I told you it was not an interview…anyway I’ve just finished the meeting with them…trying to get out from their office…it was good…I’ll start working on this project from next week…
– Oh baby that’s a good new, you deserve it! Your father and me are so proud you quit your last job..
-…I didn’t quit, they just didn’t renew my contract…
– Anyway, we are so happy you are not working anymore for them, they were just exploiting you. You should take care more of yourself, life is not just about work. So did they offer you a permanent contract or…
– I already told you mum: it was not an interview and I’m not gonna work for them, but with them…
– How do you mean?
– Come on, we already talked about that, I’m just trying to understand if I can start doing something on my own. …I’m sick of working for other people.
– Yeah cooky, but you can’t waste your time: it’s the moment for you to seriously focus on yourself and on what you really want to do.
– It’s exactly what I’m doing! By the way, it was you and Dad who told me I had to start working on my own.
– Yeah, but we meant a real job…
– It is a real job!
– So how long you’re gonna work with them?
– …we agreed for…three maybe four weeks.
– Oh baby you can’t keep going like that: what are you gonna do after these three weeks? what about the apartment? Are you gonna leave it at the end of the month?
– I don’t know mum, really, I can’t say…
– How don’t you know it? And how about Sandy, what does she says about all this situation?
– She’s looking for a new job as well, it’s not easy…
– I’ve really the impression you guys are wasting your time.You are not two teenagers anymore, you should try to be more mature…
– We are mature mum, we just don’t have a job…I have a job actually…it’s just that it’s hard to plan things for the future.
– Why don’t you come back home for a while. You can stay here and help your father.
– Dad is retired, how could I help him?
– Don’t be so aggressive with me. Did they give you at least a nice office where you can work for the next three weeks?
-…No, I will be doing my work from home.
– How do you mean?
He put the call on speaker and posed the phone down on the floor. Outside it was more and more misty and the fog was rising from the street to the top of the tower, like dust after an explosion. For a moment he could still see the pinnacles of the buildings in front of him, but then everything turned white. He started feeling a bit lost and anguished; so he got up and he thought he had to call the security again. He put his finger on the emergency button, but then he stopped and he started looking at the milky white haze that had swallowed everything outside. Celine Dion. He put his back on the sliding doors; he breathed.
- baby, can you hear me?
– baby, are you ok?
– …yeah, I’m fine.