The Great Elevator Escape
My ex, Jim, called several months after we broke up. He wanted me back. He begged me to have a drink with him the next time I visited his town. I agreed to see him not for reconciliation but because I wanted the truth. I knew he had cheated once—because he told me. Was there really only the one other woman? Or were there more, as I assumed? The not knowing gnawed on me.
I would be in his town for work, and we made plans to meet at seven for a drink in the bar of the hotel where I was staying. He showed up at 7:20—drunk. His eyes were bloodshot and his speech slurred when he ordered a glass of wine. I didn’t mind his inebriation—alcohol can be a remarkable truth serum. I was sober, sipping on my first glass of wine while.
He wasted no time on pleasantries, getting right into his sales pitch to win me back.
“I really miss you. You are the love of my life,” he said, as he had many times before.
I wanted to tell him to shove it. I was amazed that I had fallen for this crap before. After all, I had taken him back after the first time he cheated. But I didn’t tell him off. Instead, I used my charm to lull him into believing that I might take him back—if he would only tell me the truth. I smiled and nodded as he talked.
“I was confused. With everything that was going on in my business, I just didn’t know how to handle us. I’m so sorry I pushed you away.”
“Come on, Jim. Tell me the truth. You cheated on me more than once, didn’t you?” My voice was very calm and I continued to smile.
“Well, yes, there were a few other times.”
He ordered another glass of wine. I remained serene, charming.
I asked him for details. He told me all. The anger welled within me as I heard about five other women. It was all I could do to stop myself from reaching across the table and punching his big, fat head. But I maintained my composure until he finished his rant.
When he stopped talking, I pushed myself out of my chair and said, “I’m leaving.” I planned a grand exit, like a star in one of those 1940s movies. Instead, I banged my leg against a table as I scurried away. As I left the bar I frantically looked left and right. Where was that damn elevator?
Jim followed me out. Maybe I’d have to punch him after all.
“Where’s the elevator?” I said.
He didn’t answer my question. Instead he asked, “What’s the matter?”
“I need to go—just tell me where the elevator is.”
I was starting to panic. How would I get out of the basement hallway and back to my room? To the right I saw a staircase. Maybe I could bolt up the stairs to the lobby and find the elevator from there. He likely wouldn’t catch me. He was drunk and not so athletic in general.
As I assessed my possible escape routes, I saw a sign with an arrow pointing to the elevators. I quickly walked in that direction. Jim followed.
“Nancy, I love you. Let me come with you.”
“You pay the bill. I’m going up to my room,” I said as I stepped into the hotel elevator.
Jim wasn’t so easily swayed. He stepped in the elevator with me.
“I want to come with you.”
“No. You have to pay the bill.”
This time I didn’t wait for his response. I shoved him out the door. Not an easy task. Jim was six foot two and weighed over 220 pounds. I pushed the button to my floor, and as the door closed, he pounded his fists on the outside of the elevator.
“Fuck!” I heard him shout behind thick metal doors.
I danced a little jig as my elevator ascended, reveling in my escape. My celebration was premature. Jim was still in pursuit.
The hotel phone rang as I arrived in my room.
“Can I come up?” he asked.
“No.” I hung up. He called my cell phone one minute later. I didn’t answer.
In the morning I saw a note under my windshield wiper. The words were written in a drunken scrawl and said, “I love you.” I ripped it up, and threw the scraps in the parking lot.
I knew the truth and the truth had set me free.
Wow… Just… Wow.
Lucky escape, I should say!