I got home from work tonight a little before six. I got onto the elevator and pushed my floor. It stopped on the 6th floor, and a man got on. I’d seen him around the building on prior occasions. He looked at the button panel, and seeing that the 20th floor was illuminated, looked at me and said, “Hi, my name is Thomas, you live on the 20th floor?” I said that I did. He proceed to say that he moved onto the floor a couple of months ago from the 10th, and that his wife won’t come into the building. The first time he said that, it didn’t really register. I welcomed him to the floor and offered some throwaway comment about how it was a good building. He said, “you should talk to my wife, because she just refuses to come into the building.” Not that she didn’t like the place, but that she absolutely refused to enter. With that, we arrived at the floor and headed our opposing directions to our apartments.
I walked into my apartment, feeling like there were about a hundred questions I should have asked. Why does he live in a building that his wife won’t enter? Why has he upgraded his apartment to another, if his wife isn’t willing to ever see it? Where is his wife? And why the hell is he telling someone he just met on the elevator that she is vehemently opposed to the place we both live?
It was an oddly placed admission of some serious marital issues in a tone of voice that would have been more appropriate discussing the weather. It felt like I’d been given a little unsolicited peek into a stranger’s storage closet, the one with all the discarded kitchen utensils, out-of-date coats, Halloween costumes, broken appliances and abandoned crafty projects.
I’m seriously considering asking him some of my questions, next time I see him.
I started wondering, is his wife alive? Does she travel a lot?
Strangely enough, I didn’t even think marital problems until you mentioned it.
He said something about how I should talk to her and tell her how the building really isn’t that bad, so I don’t think she is dead.
What a weird encounter. My first reaction was that maybe you shouldn’t talk to him… that was strange information he offered you (twice). I dunno. Just be careful with strange people, especially ones who know where you live.
obviously i used to watch too much tv, but I imagined he was thinking her ghost was alive and well and wanted you to channel her, basically put her spirit to rest. i’m a sentimental sap in that way.
This man is married. He moved apartments. I must assume that his wife is not an ex-wife and that she was living with him before. So why the floor change? Why doesn’t she like the new floor? Or what strange event happened that she now won’t come in the building any more?
And wait… Where is she now that she won’t come home with him? Why is her husband so uncaring as to leave her out on the sidewalk below, trembling in fear of their new apartment?
How is it that he thinks you should be involved in this psychosis due to the mere apparent proximity of your apartments? Is she afraid of heights? What does she really fear?
I’ve re-read this a couple of times now, and I can’t decide whether I’m confused or angry or what. You definitely need to seek out this man and demand some quick answers.
and he looked and acted of sound mind while telling you this story? So many questions! Next time you see him, maybe initiate by asking him whether his wife has changed her mind yet.
I totally think you should ask him your questions. It’s not like he hesitated to offer you way more information than you really needed to have. And when you find out, just don’t forget to update us. I agree with you, by the way, major marital problems with that couple.