A Sweet Encounter

Written By Jess O’Brien

I knew what I’d done as soon as the elevator door closed.

“Miss, I think you’ve caught your bracelet in the door.” I heard a small voice mumble from behind me.

“Yes! Thank you very much for pointing that out. I wouldn’t have known otherwise.” I replied gratingly as I tugged on the trinket trapping me.

I was in an exceptionally bad mood, having just had all of my many credit cards declined while trying to buy my insufferable mother a birthday gift. She already judged me for my life choices and now if I was to show up to the family mansion empty-handed, penniless and still unwed? It would be humiliating.

I gave one last desperate tug on my bracelet and I finally broke free, falling hard on the floor of the compartment, my bracelet falling through the wrong side of the door and down the elevator shaft. “No! No no no no! ” I sobbed and crawled to the door, clawing at it hysterically trying to pry it open. I gave up a time later after I had chipped a freshly manicured nail and curled up into a ball, hoping this day wouldn’t get any worse.

“It would seem that we’re stuck…” The voice made me squeal in surprise, I had completely forgotten that I was not alone, “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to frighten you!” the person replied as a tiny, gentle hand placed itself on my shoulder, “Are you okay?”

“Do I look okay to you?! I spent a lot of money on these nails!” I wailed as I continued to break down.

A long silent moment followed and I let it stretch out for as long as I could bear it. I didn’t particularly want to talk to the person in the mood I was in, but with nothing else to do in a stuck elevator, I had little choice.

I wasn’t expecting to turn and find my companion to be an extremely small little girl, dressed in a beautiful pink tea dress and white ballet shoes. Her fiery red hair tumbled in curls around her freckled face and her perfectly round, sea green eyes pierced through her fringe, looking straight at me.

“Oh!” I exclaimed,  as I wiped my mascara stained face and knelt at her height, “Hello, I’m sorry for that slight outburst, I’m not having an especially good day. I hope I didn’t startle you….” I trailed off, waiting for her to offer her name.

“My name is Grace, Miss. I’m not scared, I just want to cheer you up.” she beamed at me.

“That’s very kind of you Grace, but I’m afraid nothing will improve this day. I’ve lost a lot.” I explained, her face became crestfallen so I quickly added with a smile, “I’m Sarah, by the way.”

“You mean your bracelet? Here, you can have mine!” I had no time to object before she had unclasped her lovely and delicate gold bangle and re-clasped it on my wrist. “I’ve lost something too, I couldn’t find my mummy in the store and I was on my way to go and tell someone, so I know how you feel.” My heart sank as I realised how selfish I had been, she must have been terrified.

“Oh you poor thing! Don’t you worry we’ll be out of here in no time. They’ll come for us soon, I know your mummy will be looking for you.”  I promised as I held out my arms for her to come into what I hoped was a comforting embrace.

“I’m not very sure, people tend to forget about me you see, they have done ever since….” she didn’t finish what she was going to say and I didn’t want to pry, so I just continued to hold her and awkwardly stroke her hair as I’d seen others do to children they were attempting to ease. I really wasn’t a ‘children’ person, I had avoided them my whole life up to this point and I had no idea what to do now I was forced into the company of one.

“Well hey,” I said, “We’ve both lost something now, and you helped me to replace mine so… here, have my scarf, it will keep you warm while your mummy can’t.” her eyes welled up as she accepted my token and she wrapped the butterfly patterned piece of cloth around her neck.

“Wow, thank you! You’re the nicest person ever, Sarah!”  I couldn’t help but grin at her words, “Why were you so upset at losing your bracelet?”

“It was a gift from my daddy for my sixteenth birthday, I loved him very much and when he died it became even more special to me. I’ve worn it everyday since for 12 years.” I explained.

“That’s so sad! Oh Sarah I’ll get it back for you, I promise!” She pledged and I smiled sadly back at her.

I moved us so that we were sat with out backs against the elevator wall with Grace tucked under my arm, we stayed like that for a long time, comforting each other.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

A loud grinding noise startled me out of my doze. For a moment or two I wasn’t sure where I was until I regarded my surroundings and realised that I was still inside the stuck elevator.

The noise happened a second time and I started to panic that it was almost about to plummet to the bottom.

“Hello?! Can you hear us? Stand back from the door and we’ll get you out!” I heard a man shout to me. Relief filled me that I was being rescued and I stood as far back as I could so they could get me out.

With another deafening crunch the doors flew apart and I was greeted with the site of a whole fire brigade and the woman who declined my purchase. I spared no time in scurrying to their aid and out of the blasted elevator.

“Are you okay, Miss? You’ve been in there for a couple of hours, you must have been quite bored.” One of the firemen asked. I nodded in agreement, “And lonely.”

“Oh I wasn’t alone, I was with the little girl. Is her mother here yet?” I answered as I scanned the rescue party for an extremely worried mother.

“What little girl, Miss? Did you hit your head?”

Confused by his words I replied, “No, she was there. She gave me this bracelet!” I argued showing them the wrist with her bangle on it.

Only, instead of a delicate gold bangle circling my wrist, my charmed bracelet rested there in perfect condition.

“I think we should take her to get looked at….” I stopped listening to everyone’s worried babbling.

I don’t remember feeling scared or alarmed, or concerned for my well being. The only thing going through my mind was… That little cow kept my scarf.

Written By Jess O’Brien
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