He and I first met in the lift at work as I proceeded to the rooftop to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the office.
“Hello!”, he cried. I saw straight away he was one of those boys with an abundance of vocal energy and any conversation would be heard for two floors.
Startled, I whispered a hello back, starting straight ahead. I don’t consider it wise to be friendly with children. They scare me.
“Are you going up?”, he shouted. I pointedly ignored him.
“What if I am?”, I thought. “How does it stop your progress?”
He moved closer, assuming me deaf, and repeated his question.
At this point, I had reached my destination, and responded that I was on my floor.
|“Oh, also me!”, he cried.|
I ventured to a discreet corner and sat down with my book. After about a minute, he came and stood next to me, scuffing his shoes on the ledges and leaning over the balcony. If he was going to fall, I didn’t want to be the witness to it.
“Excuse me”, I said. “This is a really big rooftop. Do you think you could go stand somewhere else?”
“Eh What?”, he loudly said.
The time for subtlety was over.
“I want to be alone here. Go and stand waaaaaaaay over there around the corner behind those pillars!”
I didn’t see him again for all of two days. The next time, I was going down the lift and he was too. We were about to reach the ground floor, when he paused on the first floor.
“What are you doing?”, I asked him. “There’s nothing on this floor. Everyone knows that! Just empty space!”
“Oh”, he said. “Okay. I didn’t know that”.
Yes you did, you adventurous explorer.
Two days later, I was leaving the rooftop and the lift doors were about to close when he whoooshed into it before it could close.
Jesus, didn’t this child have like, a job?
I was heading down to the ground floor again, when we stopped on the 6th and he whooshed out. Then I heard his shoes whooshing back and his hand reached down to hold the doors.
“Eh, first wait! Can you hold these doors for me?” he huffed.
“Why?” I asked. “Why would I do that?”
“Because I want to see if my brother is there.”
“And then what happens? He’s there and you chat for a bit, and I’m standing here holding the lift for you? Are you serious?”
“Nawe, just a few minutes.”
“Okay, one minute. Just one minute”
“No”, I said, “Absolutely not. I have things to do. I’m not going to stand here and hold lift doors for you!”
He stood firm and stared at me. I stared right back.
“Please,” he ventured.
“Listen, kid”, I started. “In the time we’ve wasted time here arguing about this, I could have gone, you would have seen your brother and the lift would have come back for you. Do you see? Now do you have something to do?
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“Like, are you in a hurry?”
He stared at me blankly.
“ARE. YOU. IN. A. HURRY.”
“No.” He said this sullenly.
“Very good,” I crowed. “Coz I am, see? Now kindly let me go”.
I couldn’t believe I was asking this little boy to let me leave my own office building.
He whooshed away.
The next time the lift doors opened to reveal him, I turned straight around and used an alternate lift.