“I’ll take the stairs,” he said.
He knew his colleagues thought him weird. Who works on the 25th floor and takes the stairs every day?
He had tried it once, but the panic had been unbearable. All he could hear was the grinding gurgling sound. All he could feel was the scratching fear of loneliness. The vulnerability of that moment in his little body trapped in that metal box, clinging to his satchel while the tears blurred the horror before him. The endless time he spent there while the big yellow men with screeching machines cut through the sealed doors, then lifted him away from his unmoving mother. Her eyes staring at him without the life force he knew so well. He never heard her voice again. He never felt her warm body holding his. They took her away on some wheels, all tucked in, even her head. The next time he saw her was in the silk lined box. He remembered thinking it looked more comfy than the big metal box they’d last been in together, when she’d clutched at her chest and told him everything would be ok.
He always used the stairs after that. It was good for the heart anyway.