So as I have been exploring my writer’s voice, I wrote a short story based on the prompt from my writing class:
The Longest Eight Seconds
Has there always been music playing in the elevator?
It took a few notes to figure out what the MUSAK was trying to replicate, but once she deciphered it, she could not unhear it. “Long Time Running”. She had never been a fan of ‘The Hip’. She felt like a phony even using the nickname. He’d been surprised that she really had no connection to the music or the band. Now, as she stood in the elevator, she couldn’t help but think of him.
It takes eight seconds to get to the 12th floor of the building where she works. Now she’d have him on her mind all day. She remembered when the chorus played in the car. She’d fall more in love with him every time he sang along with the chorus. He’d close his eyes for the briefest moment and warble the lyrics. He remembered the way she looked at him. She remembered thinking how in love with him she was.
He questioned where that look had gone. He wanted so much for her to look at him that way again.
Looking at him and simultaneously trying to hold together the last bit of her dignity just made her angry. Several times over the course of her career, she was reminded that she could have been and should have been a drama teacher. Her face was so expressive. No mystery. How was she supposed to start her second career as a poker player if that was the case?
She was disappointed in him and by him.
She wanted a break before they destroyed what they had left, but he wouldn’t listen. That was one of their problems. If only he could have felt her heart hurting through the fighting. Then he would have known that she was trying to let the love scream louder than their voices.
But he couldn’t and wouldn’t see it. Was it all her fault? Did she push his buttons so hard that there was no other way for him to react? If it wasn’t for her, his life would not have changed at all. He would have kept living his supposedly loveless, sham of a marriage. Or, so he said.
It was over before it had even begun. A year and a half of a seemingly unbreakable love. There was so much passion and joy and happiness. Followed by six months of destruction and erosion and then silence.
The lyrics make a dire prediction. She wished the lyrics were wrong.