Four Plus Four is Infinity

23 Jul

I was staying at a high-rise hotel made of glass and smokey blue-grey tones minding my business when a woman with a sporty ponytail started talking to me in the elevator. Her ponytail was the only think sporty about her, but it was very sporty, a perfectly swishy dark blonde tennis ponytail with an easy side-to-side swish and a few fly away strands, messy chic. She was tall and her face was long, high cheekbones and a sharp nose like Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Forty fourth floor please, she said as she got on. She had the slightest generic European accent.

I was just about to push that one, I said.

Well, coincidence is the belief of the damned, she said.

I forced a smiled and looked straight ahead at the crack between the elevator doors. Her breath was even if not a bit too loud. I could feel the heat of her eyes on my neck.

You know, she said, forty four is lucky. It equals eight, the symbol for infinity.

Oh, I said. I never thought of that.

Infinity is the fountain of youth.

Hugh, I said.

I watched the numbers blink above the elevator doors as we moved up toward infinity. Slowly, like it would take forever. Like it would take infinity years. My skin started to crawl and goosebumps popped up all over my arms.

The only reason we age, she said, is because we expect ourselves to. We can, in fact, live forever.

Umm cool beans, I said.

She lit a cigarette, which I smelled before I saw. The elevator filled with bitter smoke and when I turned to tell her smoking on an elevator was a bad idea and probably most likely illegal, I found the cigarette cherry was just inches from my face, extended much farther from hers in a long, ivory holder. I started bouncing my knees quickly the way I’d shake my leg if I was sitting down, just watching the numbers, waiting waiting waiting for forty four. 35, 36, 37. High-rise elevators take so long.

Would you like a cigarette? She said.

I don’t…

Ding! The doors opened. I stepped out of the elevator and turned back to smile at her, just to be polite, and watched a cloud of smoke fill the hallway. Then the doors closed again. I searched for her in the smoke cloud, squinted my eyes and waved my hands, but couldn’t see her. The smoke dissipated and she wasn’t there.


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