Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Ninety Five


In the corridor of floor sixteen sits an old man in striped pyjamas. He's been there ever since I moved in a year ago and I regard him, with a smile every time I walk past him to the flat. He just stares, into space, with a face that looks like it has been composed out of facial features from at least ten different sources.

Then one day, as I round the stairs (it's good cardio), something is different. He puts his hand out and does not look at me but says, "Now." 

I stop. The elevator doors across the hall open and the most momentous sound bursts out, cheering and wooping. There's a party in the elevator, a party with streamers and balloons, whistles and bright colours. There is (I think, although I can't see) a bear in a hat and girls from a carnival. 

The old man cheers, stretches out his arms and two clowns rush out to pick him up and carry him into the elevator. He smiles and waves at me as he goes - a big smile - and the elevator party receives him with whoops and cheers and singing.

The doors close. The colours and music are gone. I stand alone in the corridor, contemplating the chair he has left behind. 

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