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A Day Like any Other

by Susan P. Blevins


 
Sarah drags herself through the doors of the twenty-five story office building where she works, sighing deeply as she walks through the lobby. She is a few minutes late, so there is no one else waiting to take the elevator. The doors open silently and she steps inside and pushes the button for the twentieth floor, where sheís been working for the past ten years.

How much longer do I have to keep doing this? How many more weeks, months and years do I have to come to work doing work I hate in a place I have come to despise? I never wanted to be a secretary, but my parents pushed me into it, saying it would always guarantee me a good living. A good living perhaps, but hardly a good life. And to think I left my homeland to come and work for this international company, imagining life would be different, that  Iíd feel more content, be interested in interacting with other nationalities. It turned out to be like all the other places Iíve worked, all about office politics, whoís sleeping with whom, getting a good parking space, shopping at the commissary. Iím fucking miserable, thatís what I am.

I hate this place. All the corridors on all the floors look exactly the same. All the doors equally spaced, no discernible difference to any of them. Makes me want to scream. A moment of distraction, you could get off at the wrong floor and never know it and end up in an office youíve never seen before. Itís all soul-numbing and I just donít know how much more I can take.

And I know Iím not alone thinking these thoughts.There was that woman a year ago who went up to the cafe on the top floor, had her cappuccino, then meticulously folded her jacket and jumped off the edge of the terrace to her death. She was another one who thought sheíd left all her troubles behind, and could start over in another country. Wrong!  Even I know that we pack our troubles around with us. Our demons keep hounding us until we turn and face them. I still havenít had the courage to face mine, my insecurities and lack of self-esteem.

Whatís the matter with this elevator today? Itís going at half speed. Where was I? Ah yes,  then there was the man that they found after a world conference whoíd hanged himself in the booth where he worked as a simultaneous interpreter. That was pretty gruesome. Heíd been there for days before they found him.

But I understand them completely, and recently Iíve thought a lot about ending it all. No one would miss me. It would be as though Iíd never existed.

Dammit what is the matter with the bloody elevator. My boss will shout at me again and I wonít get a pay raise like heís been vaguely promising me. Now the whole thing has started to shake and Iím only up to the fifteenth floor, well, halfway between fifteenth and sixteenth actually.  

Oh great! Now itís stopped altogether and itís made me fall and Iíve got a run in my hose. And the lightís gone out too. Well, Iíll just jab at the red button, if I can find it in the dark, and hope someone opens the doors and lets me out before my claustrophobia kicks in. This little box, hanging high up over empty space feels like a coffin to me. Is this what it would feel like to be buried alive? Iíve had it with the whole damn thing, my life sucks and now this. I want it all to be over, and wake up somewhere beautiful where people love me and I have a caring boyfriend. Iíll just close my eyes and pretend Iím dead, just to see what it feels like.

One by one the cables fray and break. Sarahís scream is lost in the dark tunnel down which she plunges fast and endlessly.


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