The Elevator

Lorenzo pushed his way out of the crowded pizza parlor, hopped on his bicycle and darted down the crowded city streets pedaling furiously. He took great pride in exceeding expectations at work, though top-tier performance was not always within his realm of control. Streets riddled with traffic and addresses that were hard to locate were both recipes for delivering a cold pizza and disgruntling customers. Lorenzo accepted these circumstances as part of his job, trudging along day after day to earn some money for himself and his small family. With a college degree as part of his repertoire and having excelled at his job for many months, Lorenzo’s sense of ambition was not in doubt. It was the lack of opportunity that trickled down upon him like rain slowly flooding his thoughts and drowning him out of the life he wished to lead.
Lorenzo entered the massive sky scraper through the lobby, declaring his delivery to the front desk staff. Working quickly meant he was able to deliver more pizzas and quite often, collect bigger tips. As the elevator rose like a rocket to the thirty fifth floor, Lorenzo took a couple of seconds to admire the grandiosity generated by the impressive building. He felt slightly out of place in his pizza parlor uniform. He put his head down, humming a tune to himself and awaiting his arrival to the thirty fifth floor. The elevator stopped at the tenth floor and picked up two young staffers who were employed by one of the firms situated in the building. With Lorenzo glued to one end of the elevator, the staffers were laughing, holding ice coffees and chatting to each other at the other end. Lorenzo quickly eyed the couple, making note of their freshly pressed clothes, fit figures and bright white smiles. The woman had a designer hand bag clutched by her side while the man, with hands confidently in his pants pockets, looked as though he could have been a luxury brand model. They really look like they belong here, he thought as he dropped his head again, attempting not to eavesdrop on their conversation.
Upon exit from the elevator, Lorenzo walked through glass doors into the office and up to the secretary who was seated at the front desk. He had arrived in just over twenty minutes after the order had been placed. Lorenzo and the secretary exchanged pizza for money with the secretary instructing him to keep the change. Lorenzo counted the money and turned to leave, suddenly finding himself fighting dejection as he slowly made his way back to the elevator. After desperately weaving through harsh traffic and rushing to deliver the hot pizzas, he had received a two dollar tip for his valiant efforts. This was not the first time he had been unfairly compensated for his labor and with a few more hours of work ahead, he knew he was in for a miserable ride unless he put this experience behind him quickly. He had to continue onto the next delivery, forgetting the injustice that was thrust upon him by the posh firm on the thirty fifth floor.
Lorenzo entered the elevator, alongside a young man in a t-shirt and shorts. The man looked over at Lorenzo, who was now working on warping into a happier state of mind to forget about the small tip he had received.
“Great day today” The man boomed with a smile on his face.
“Not for tips…”Lorenzo said uncontrollably as his voice faded, quickly realizing he was disclosing unnecessary details of his life to a stranger who could not care less. Lorenzo was slightly embarrassed.
“Oh…That’s terrible. I don’t think there’s anything tastier than a hot pizza. If it’s a good delivery, it deserves a good tip!” The man appeared firm and genuine in his proclamation “I know that feeling though. You do your best and try to be as fast as you can but you just cannot please everybody. Back when I delivered pizzas, things were the same. You never know what kind of people you’re going to run into in this crazy city”
Lorenzo looked over sharply at the man. He was dressed as though he still delivered pizzas and appeared to be around the same age as Lorenzo.
“It’s not nice getting an unfair tip. I would say twenty minutes is quite a quick delivery. Who knows, maybe the next one will be good one. They didn’t teach me about this in college” Lorenzo said, half chuckling and cracking a smile.
The man raised his head and looked straight ahead at the elevator door. Lorenzo was standing a couple of feet away from him and turned awkwardly to face the elevator door himself to avoid staring at the man. They stood in silence for a few seconds. Lorenzo felt further embarrassed revealing he had been to college and that he was now working as a pizza delivery man.
Although he took great pride in his work, Lorenzo had stumbled upon his current job by chance after months of submitting job applications to no avail. He had finished his degree in Business Administration amongst the top of his class but the harsh realities of the working world had clutched Lorenzo in a tight grip. He was just one of the thousands looking for a job in relentlessly difficult job market.
“Well, this is where I get off” The elevator was coming to a halt at the second floor. The man reached in his pocket and dug around for a couple of seconds before pulling out a card “Listen we’re hiring for different positions within my company and always looking for fresh faces to charge things up. I believe in a fair chance. Maybe you could interview with us. You say you have some sort of degree? What about experience?”
“Yes a four year degree and top of my class. I have been working for the last couple of years doing various odd jobs around the city” Lorenzo blurted, sensing some sort of opportunity to escape his days as a delivery man. He was unprepared for such a situation but did his best to react accordingly.
“I have full working proficiency in…” Lorenzo was halted by the young man, who extended his hand out to Lorenzo.
“I have to run. Here’s my card. Call this number and our secretary will set you up with an interview, if you’re interested. Just mention to her that you spoke to me about it. And I’m really sorry about the tip you received. I’ll talk to my employees about that. You would think I pay them well enough to give you a fair shake” The man exited, glancing back at Lorenzo as the elevator doors closed behind him.

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Punctured

They were like bread and butter. Two souls bound together by attraction of opposites. These two bodies shared binding similarities that mirrored the face of their existence. They were destined to find each other and to have had the joy of holding onto one another. To call them friends would have been a reaching understatement. To call them lovers would be an appropriate description but would have fallen short of describing the impression they created in one another’s arms. Like day and night, like sun and rain, like east and west, these two were linked at different ends of an endless continuum.
Bound by the blood in their veins and the band knotted tightly around their arms, their love, alas, was fueled by a stronger addiction. Drugs were their mutual companion. They never realized that their coexistence was not the sole story crafted into the scripts of their presence here on Earth. They were powered by the surge of the dope that coursed through their veins when their love did not prove strong enough to satisfy their insatiable appetite. Seeking pleasure deep in their bones, their mission for drugs guided them in their one track mind of two united souls.
When one was sad, the other would weep. When one was tired, the other would sleep. They were a combined force with their internal clocks synchronized to tick together till the ends of time. This was no ordinary love but the drugs were stronger than their extraordinary adoration for one another. The uncontrollable stimulation and the sensation of overpowering pleasure clashed deep in the depths of their welded souls.

When one left, the other did not. Ying was gone with only Yang left to plug the holes of darkness that leaked through the walls of the heart in the absence of love. Their unity was now torn apart by the fate of seeking such pleasures. Where drugs were not enough, love would suffice. With love ripped apart from existence, one was gone with the other was still there to gather the shattered pieces of their union. The pit of loneliness was now accompanied by the misery of the drug. Being alone was dark; the drug still white. Regret was the side dish served along with the main course consisting of costly avoidance and numbing of the senses. Regret and sorrow, death and defeat, love and loss, were now together, separable only by memory of their past moments together.

Lighthouse

The old lighthouse sits fitted on the fringes of the ocean, bordered by a sharp rocky coast and an openness reaching far into the reaches of the horizon. This structure, located at Rocky Cove, has served sailors on the open sea for years as a beacon of light on the final rugged incoming stretch of salt water. Many decades ago, an old house was built in the proximity of the lighthouse. It remained unoccupied for months at a time as finding a tenant for this humbly built and remotely located abode was near impossible. Twenty five years ago, a young man searching for love and simplicity by the name of Mark decided he would settle and live a life in this house at the Rocky Cove lighthouse.
Twenty five years later, at fifty, his hopes of finding a wife had faded and Mark discovered himself living alone in the little house near the lighthouse. He had long worked a strenuous job involving countless hours in a consuming profession. He was a peaceful soul and though he was a lover at heart, Mark found himself a solitary existence. Mark was, after all, a lonely man who felt his job was his inevitable purpose as the opportunity of starting his own family had evaded him. After long days at work in the summer, Mark would drive home and sit in his yard, sipping a cold drink by himself. Lately, the lighthouse no longer beamed a light onto the ocean but managed to stand its ground, regardless of abandonment.

The lighthouse was slowly but surely withering away. It had served its purpose through the years and with the advancement of technology, there was no longer any practical use for the obsolete structure. The flashing beacon of light had now stopped illuminating the seas. The structure was no more than an object from the past waiting to be torn down and replaced. This lighthouse was the only connecting piece of history to youth for Mark. From the moment he had set foot into his house, Mark had begun to develop a love and had formed a lasting bond with the lighthouse. Now marked for demolition, Mark was angered. He had come to the conclusion that the lighthouse was much like him. It had served its purpose and was no longer necessary. It had stood tall in times of need, enduring high winds and a jagged and volatile coast line for the sake of others. It had worked many long years and now the world was moving on, as if it never existed. Like having to let go of the dream of finding a wife and starting a family, Mark loathed the idea of having to part ways with the lighthouse.
Mark waited patiently in his home for the arrival of the Rocky Coast Maritime Authority at his doorstep. They had wanted to speak to the man who lived near the lighthouse about the tearing down of the structure. At fifty, Mark had lived a good life but his quest for love and simplicity always seemed to evade him. Now, the lighthouse he was so attached to, which had served as a monument in his life, was going to be demolished. There was a knock at the door. Mark sighed and rose up from his chair, further infuriated by the thought of unknown men in suits knocking at his doorstep to disrupt his life.
A seismic shock went through Mark’s eyes along with a slight jolt up from his heart into his mouth. He began to experience a sensation he had known existed somewhere deep in his spectrum of emotions but a feeling that had never quite surfaced to familiarize itself with him. Words were not Mark’s strongest asset and but now, any notion of a vocabulary was entirely absent as he stood at his doorstep in disbelief. Why had they had sent a beautiful woman to his door to go over the details of the demolition? He was thunderstruck by her disarming smile. Awed by this woman and the glow that surrounded her, the anger had dissolved within Mark.
“Hi. My name is Anna. I was sent here by the Rocky Cove Maritime Authority. This is the only house near the lighthouse so I’m guessing your name is Mark” she smiled, chuckling and extending her arm for a handshake.
Mark attempted to gather himself.
“I’m sorry. You look confused” she giggled, withdrawing her hand. “Don’t worry. I have been with the Maritime Authority for twenty years. Let me just tell you right now that we are not tearing down the lighthouse. It has served us well and turns out that it is a great point of interest for the maritime community. It will possibly be turned into a monument of sorts. Maybe we can go for a drink down the street and you can tell me what it has been like living near this lighthouse for 25 years?”

Sauna by the Sea

The sauna by the sea sits elevated on a wood crafted foundation with steps leading up to its outer deck. This construction is freshly painted with a thick coat of dark brown to protect the wood that embraces the sauna’s outer rim. The magnificent structure rests sturdy on the edge of a tiny rock cliff leading into the greenish-blue waters of the arctic sea. A small table with four accompanying black metal chairs sits immediately outside the entrance door of the sauna on the wooden deck, serving as a place of rest and relaxation for a before and after experience. From a slight distance, the sauna resembles a miniature house aptly fitted with a small chimney for the grey smoke from the hot burning wood to escape into the blue skies above.
Bordered by freshly cut grass on the southern perimeter and the open sea to the north, the seaside sauna fits snug and symphonically amongst the surrounding elements, offering a pathway into a unique experience of unbound relaxation and relief from the day-to-day life. The eye catching off-white outer color of the panels of the sauna house transmits a captivating electric relaxation. Peering through any one of the four windows on the sauna offers a glimpse into the unique facets of this marvelous structure though the true beauty of the sauna in transmitted from the inside outwards.
Stepping into the inner realm of the sauna, the tiny house is divided into two separate rooms, one offering a pathway into the other through a wooden door with a large hand-crafted cylindrical handle. Inside this preparatory room of the sauna, the walls hold symbolic heirlooms of people and experiences from past family generations. Tobacco pipes strung together, caked with old tar and resin, hang loosely from the wooden walls and vintage empty green glass bottles are tightly packed into wood baskets on the sauna floor. A small fridge is lined with cold beverages to quench the thirst of the sauna-goers. There is a small mirror on the wall of this preliminary room though any desire for vanity is quickly transformed into a superior and sedative mood of relaxation as one enters the hot sauna.
The tightly packed heat compressed in the sauna blasts the naked body upon entry. A small analog temperature gauge projects the sauna temperature and two benches reaching back offer sufficient seating for family and friends. The moments spent in the world of the hot sauna room are often consumed by reflection and detachment from life while staying physically present in a meditative cloud of soul-cleansing heat. A small glass window offers a portrait of the Arctic Sea worth a thousand words of vast beauty and freshly inspired wisdom. On exiting a second door leading out of the sauna, immersion into the cold Artic waters pleasantly shocks the body while simultaneously cooling the hot muscles. A cold beverage on the wooden deck caps the experience and brings the evening to a sublime finish. Though extreme temperatures at opposing ends of the spectrum dictate the experience of the sauna, it is the middle ground of peace and tranquility sought and eventually found through this practice that accentuates its true significance and purpose.