I wanted to go; the end of a long shift and I just wanted to leave that place behind. Two more stops, coat check and then security, before I would traverse the blocks leading to the comforts of home and a much-needed shower.
The elevator car stopped three floors too soon and I was annoyed at the interruption. The doors opened to a vaudeville act of bright yellow sweats, twice the size of the frame supporting them, spinning slowly in the elevator lobby; an equally bright and over-sized fabric flower in one hand served as her dancing partner. Beneath the dim artificial light, the intensity of the whirling color wheel forced me to squint hard and quickly shield my retina behind my hand, like a migraine victim or vampire attempting to block the pain.
I called out, “Going up?”
The jester abruptly stopped, mid-revolution, shocked to see me, shocked to see anyone. From under multiple layers of folded skin, like a Shar-Pei puppy, she gave me a large toothless grin that concurrently warmed, and horrified me. Then she extended her free hand in a gesture of farewell and I heard her reply in a voice very much like a little girl’s, “Bye-bye.”