“That’s it, Mr. and Mrs. Brakes, you are free to go now,” the lawyer said.
“That’s it?” Karen said.
“Yep, that’s it,” Mark said.
Karen slowly grabbed her purse and walked to the door in a trance. After twenty years together, her marriage was over with just a few swipes of a pen.
Once in the elevator, she clumsily reached into her open purse for her phone and everything fell out onto the floor. Frustrated, she reached crouched down to put everything back and fell down.
“It’ll be all right,” Mark said softly and reached to help her put the things back. “It’s for the best.”
“I guess. It just seems so final. That’s all folks,” she mimed raising her hands.
They silently picked up her things and put them back in her purse.
“I see some things haven’t changed. You still try to fit ten pounds of stuff in this five pound purse,” Mark said and they both laughed and sighed at the same time.
Just then there was a squeaking sound and the lights blinked on and off. They both looked at each other puzzled. The elevator started to go up again, then down and then abuptly stopped with a thud.
“I don’t like this,” Karen cautioned.
“We’ll just call for help. No problem,” Mark calmly picked up the emergency phone and reported the problem.
For ten minutes, it was silent. Neither knew what to say. After six years dating, ten years of marriage, and four years of fighting, everything had been said.
“This reminds me of that time we got snowed in at my family’s cabin in Minnesota for three days,” Karen smiled.
“Right, we had to burn everything but the floorboards to keep warm,” Mark laughed. “Good thing the wine held out.”
“Oh yeah. We were lucky my parents had a wine cellar and even luckier you and your munchies habit kept us in Fritos, Cheetos, and Oreos the whole time,” Karen laughed.
“I told you it wasn’t a bad thing to a junk food junkie. You can never have enough,” Mark chided.
“I think we played about ten thousand hands of cards without a winner,” Karen chuckled.
“Nope, no winners here,” Mark said wryly and sat on the floor opposite her.
Ten more minutes went by without a sound. Each would look at the floor and then look up in synchronicity and start to speak, and then look down again.
“I don’t think this will turn out as well as that did,” Mark broke the silence.
“Did it?,” Karen scolded slightly and then sighed. “It’s ironic, that seemed to be the beginning of the end.”
“Regrets?” Mark asked.
“I don’t know. Who doesn’t? I guess it just wasn’t meant to be,” Karen said somberly.
“Yeah, I guess so,” he sighed deeply.
After ten more minutes, Karen looked up and smiled. “Hey, you got any on you now?”
“Munchies? Are you kidding? I am always packing,” Mark laughed and dumped out his messenger bag of bags of chips, cookies, and candy bars on the floor.
They both laughed.
“Well, we don’t have any wine, but this should hold us for a couple days,” Karen smiled.
“That wouldn’t be so bad,” Mark smiled. “I’ll even let you have the Oreos this time.”
Karen smiled and grabbed the package of Oreos just as the elevator lights came on and it began to decend.
“Keep them,” Mark said putting the other food back in his bag.
They both stood up and silently stared up at the floors counting down. As the elevator doors to open, they looked at each other and stepped into the busy lobby.
“Bye,” they both said, laughed and each walked in the opposite direction.
(c) Copyright Suzanne Rudd Hamilton, 2020