Lift: Our Story (1000 Word Challenge)


I could sense he wanted to say something by the way he was looking at me, eyes wide open. But I waited patiently, brushing his hair with my fingers, until he gathered his strength. “Why… Lift?” I smiled with melancholy when memories started flowing through. There were so many of them, still fresh like it had happened yesterday… “Well, where should I start? You know most of the story, I could just jump to the conclusion-” “No. I know all of it, but I want to hear everything from you… Please.” He smiled, the same smile with perfect white teeth that intimidated me at the beginning, when I had no idea what role he was about to play in my story. I sighed.

“A couple of months ago, one of the most powerful companies in the city was going through a pilot study. Some employees were about to receive a personal assistant, shaped for their personality, which was supposed to help them increase productivity at the workplace. Of course I was sceptical. I didn’t want any help, I thought I could do everything by myself, even if that meant working more hours. But oh, how wrong I was! After endless questionnaires, I was about to meet him, or her, or… it. The day came when I had to spend some time with my new assistant, to check if any changes were to be made, if I’m fully satisfied… Someone knocked at my desk. ‘Come in!’ I said, unsure what to expect. I was afraid I would feel uncomfortable, I thought I would be able to tell the difference… That’s when I met you. When that tall, dark-haired man entered my office, smiling shyly at me, remember what I asked you?… Of course you remember, you don’t forget anything, I know.”

A white smile flashed on his face.

“Yes, that’s the smile you were wearing! Although it became more amused when I asked if the robot wasn’t ready yet…”

I was feeling emotional again, but I knew he wanted me to continue, to live everything once again, together. So I told him about how exhausted I was feeling because of working extra hours, even with his help, since I still preferred to do most of the job myself. About how he approached me, joking that I was the machine, not him, and about how close we soon became.

“I knew I wasn’t supposed to call you by a human name, to avoid becoming too attached. But we were getting along really well together and I started to get bored with just using your unique ID number. So one day after you made me blush with your compliments – and it wasn’t about my pretty blue dress, but about how smart I was for solving that annoying system error – I was standing alone in the office after you had left, with a stupid smile on my face and a familiar feeling. You know I usually take the elevator in the office from the 10th floor, and halfway through I have that sensation when my stomach is dropping, falling… but then, standing there, I knew that time it was my heart that was actually falling – falling in love with the wrong species.”

I sighed again. It’s always easy to get lost in the past, especially if the past is full of warm, happy moments. What’s more difficult is to come back, to face the cold, blue reality… He smiled at me. “And?”

“Well, that’s when I found your nickname: Lift. Because I realised that when I was with you, I felt either the happiest or the saddest I’d ever been. My moods and feelings were going up and down, I knew we weren’t supposed to be together, but I just couldn’t help it…” I could feel tears forming at the corners of my eyes, then my sight got blurry. I didn’t want to cry. So while Lift’s hand was carefully brushing my tears away, I tried to focus on happier memories.

“The day we kissed for the first time was almost a dream. I knew it was forbidden, you knew that too, didn’t you? It’s imprinted in your mind… But that didn’t stop us from sharing another kiss the next day, then another. I remember how much more confident I was feeling, I thought everything was possible with you by my side… Work became almost a pleasure, we were so much more productive than anyone had anticipated. But it was still just like a dream… I woke up when we got caught, I could see the terror in their eyes, it suddenly struck me that no one would understand that love doesn’t care about such differences. We were split apart, I got fired, they took you away. I never heard back from you, I begged them to let me speak to you one more time, but they looked at me as though I was the lowest person in the universe. And now you’ve come to my door after so long, and without any word you just collapse in my arms – you scared me, Lift! And telling me that they’ve started the shutting down procedure – that you’ve been labelled as faulty because you kept saying my name… Oh, Lift! How on earth did you manage to run away and come here?! I mean with just only hours, maybe minutes left until-”

My voice broke. I couldn’t say it. Tears were now running down my face, but this time no one was making any effort to wipe them; my hands were still holding his head. I could see the lights in his eyes dimming slowly, and I knew I had to be brave. Like he taught me to be. I leaned down closer to him, hoping he could still hear my whispers. “I love you, Lift. And I swear I will bring you back to life.” Between tears filling my eyes I saw him, smiling shyly for a split second, before becoming just another soulless machine.


The Betrayal of the Body


I was watching Sherlock last week – the TV series shot in London. If you’re living in London or you’re planning to visit it soon, you should definitely watch this. It made me wonder if an explosion would start right in the building behind me, if someone was going to be shot from a roof, and other ordinary things like these (perhaps I’m a little paranoiac, or most probably I just have too much imagination, plus I’m bored). Actually a similar situation happened when I arrived in this town where I’m going to spend most of my summer: it reminds me of Miss Marple’s village. For those of you who don’t know, miss Marple is an intelligent old lady from some of Agatha Christie’ novels, who solves murders and crimes that happen in her village. I was tempted to tell an elderly couple that lives near me about the resemblance, but I changed my mind in the last second – I guess it’s not quite a proper thing to say, the fact that you can easily see something bad happening in the area.

But anyway, back to Sherlock. The episode was The Hound of Baskerville, based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel, which is one of the only two Sherlock Holmes novels I’ve read. So the plot was not unknown to me, but I still enjoyed it, cause my memory is not that good when it comes to remembering details from one of the hundreds novels and stories that I’ve ever read. There was something that Sherlock says, after confronting a situation that seemed supra-natural. ‘My body’s betraying me. Interesting, yes. Emotions.’ – he was shaking, something very unusual for such a great detective, to shake from fear. And I remembered that quote when something similar happened to me, later.

I suppose that indeed all of us had moments when the mind couldn’t control the body – something serious, like fainting, or more usual, like shivering from cold. But this one was something quite new to me. I was walking through the town centre, where some live band or something was performing in a backyard of a restaurant. I didn’t really pay much attention to it. Actually I only heard the last few notes of a song, while passing by. At least I assume I’ve heard them. It happens to me quite a lot, unfortunately, to meet someone new, and forget their name after one second. Or well, I can’t use ‘forget’, cause ‘forget’ means that you knew it once, while in this case the name never enters my mind. So, I’ve heard the notes, but didn’t particularly pay attention to them. I just made a few more steps, until I blinked, and I realised something wasn’t right. I could feel my eyes slowly being filled with tears.

What’s happening? I blink again, keeping the tears in my eyes instead of allowing them to start flowing on my cheeks – I am in the middle of a crowd, after all. And I suddenly remember the song that has just finished. I can suddenly label those last few notes that my body recognised before my memory did. The kind of notes that feel as if someone touches specific strings of an inner guitar… and you just can’t resist them. And if it brings you memories, the intensity is even stronger – you can’t run from your memories, can you? My body is betraying me, indeed... And that’s not how I used to be, that’s not the way I want to react, that’s not the shape of my heart…