Short Writing

There Was A Dog
ann y.k.choi

I turned my head to look out the glass elevator, when I saw in the reflection that a woman and her seeing-eye dog had just gotten on. Instantly, my insides fell heavily inward. The door closed – I should have gotten off, I panicked. She’s blind – she wouldn’t have seen me.

I forced myself to take a deep breath and looked up as the light above the door indicated each floor we passed. Without warning, the elevator stopped. I felt my heart cease to beat, my limbs grow rigid. My eyes locked onto the lit 5th button, willing it to move. Then, when it dawned on me that my attempts were futile, I turned and looked down several stories to see the security guard from his desk in the atrium staring up at us. The lack of surprise or concern on his face triggered a fresh panic. I had never been so close to a dog in such a small space before. In vain, I attempted to reason with myself: Of all the dogs in the world to be trapped on an elevator, this would be it.

“Are we stopped near the fifth floor again?” the girl asked.

How had she known? I turned to look at her. Both my lips and my tongue moved but my voice was caught in my lungs.

The girl asked, “Are you okay?”  Her voice was soft. “The elevator gets stuck once in a while – it’ll be fine soon.”

“It’s not the elevator,” I said, my voice unintentionally harsh. My eyes went sideways and snuck a peek at the dog.  A mad vision of its bony white, bloodthirsty teeth, rushed through my brain.

“She won’t hurt you,” the girl said, a lingering smile on her lips. She reached over to pat her dog. My hand, agitated by the mere thought of touching a dog felt wet and clammy.

I turned away. It annoyed me that this girl who could not see, saw so much.

“Her name’s Patch,” she said and smiled again.

I didn’t care. I wanted off this elevator that was now beginning to close in on my tortured nerves. Quite desperately, I found myself envying the girl whose blindness protected her from elevator walls and mad dogs that threatened to destroy her very life. When a dull rumble shook the elevator alive again, I cried out in both panic and relief. Seconds later, the doors opened. With half-shut eyes, I felt the girl’s hand gently find mine, leading me off the elevator.