The Elevator Door Opens In The Parking Garage, And

by Laura Stamps

there he is, a man who
must have been prettier
than most women when
he was younger, now
distinguished, elegant,
his hair the color of
lemon marigolds waving
across his shoulders,
his cat-like body lean,
graceful, his smile easy,
this man who watches
me with yearning, this
man I always avoid
in the same way the
gazelle runs from a lion.
“Evening, Lacey,” he
says, when I step from
the elevator into the
parking garage of the
building where I work.
Brightly lit, it only
illuminates this man
standing before me,
the cousin of my boss,
one of the owners of
the company. “Atwell,”
I say, nod politely, and
walk past him. I can’t
stop. I can’t. “Have
dinner with me,” he
says, matching my stride.
“How about pizza?”
Midsummer humidity
swims through the air.
Afternoon rain paints
the sky as gray as the
Chanel suit I’m wearing
today. It’s true. I enjoy
high quality. Even so,
this man is too expensive
for me. “No, thank
you,” I say. The music
of the palmetto trees
on Main Street warns
of the next storm, their
fronds clicking against
one another in the moist
breeze. “You can’t
avoid me forever,” he
says, leaning against
the car parked next
to mine. “Why not?”
I ask, while I search my
designer handbag for
keys. “It’s just dinner,”
he says, his smile warm,
generous, as kind as
ever. I work for good
men, a good company,
the best. “I can’t,”
I say, when I open the
door of the car and
toss my purse inside.
“I don’t date vampires.”


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