Short Story

Submitted By whesler
Words: 1389
Pages: 6

Dawn and I pulled into the parking lot with thirty minutes to spare. The building loomed in front of us like a gray giant. The cold steel, glass, and concrete reflected the sunlight like some foreboding prism. My stomach developed “butterflies” at the very thought of entering. Dawn reached over and squeezed my hand, and for an instant, I saw the familiar glimmer in her eyes that I have relied on, over the years, to reassure me that all is right with the world. It had been awhile since I had seen that glimmer and it made my heart ache knowing that there was nothing I could do to bring it back into her daily existence. Dawn is an eternal optimist and I have often told her that I wished the world really was the “Disney-like” paradise that she believes it is. She always responds with a smile and reminds me that things can always get worse, and that there is more good than bad in the world. I always replied the same way by mumbling some sort of agreement with the first part of her statement and a healthy dose of skepticism to the latter part. We made our way across the parking lot to the entrance of the menacing structure, and we cast one last glance at each other before pushing the door open. The lobby was as impersonal and industrial looking as the exterior. There were chrome chairs gleaming in the sunlight and the floors and walls were almost blinding under the cold fluorescent lights that run the lengths of the hallways. The corridors extended in all directions, like the tentacles of some great beast and all of them created their own sense of dread for the unlucky person walking down them. Dawn pulled me towards an open elevator door. As the door closed, the feelings of doom increased and at that moment I felt as if I knew what it must be like for a prisoner walking down death row to meet his fate, the realization that life as you know it is over. The elevator lurched upward and my stomach dropped, like an ominous omen of what’s ahead. The doors opened and Dawn led me down another equally, dread inducing, corridor to a large wooden door. We entered the room and this lobby was only slightly more personal than the main lobby was. This lobby did have a few outdated magazines which suggested that at least one other human being had been in this room before. I found myself wondering how a building that was less than five years old could have magazines in the lobby that were eight years old and this did not help instill confidence about what was to come. We walked up to the large desk in the center of the lobby and spoke with the woman seated there. She escorted us down yet another corridor and into a small room. In a very “professional” tone, she informed that someone would be with us shortly and we should have a seat, she then turned abruptly and left us, sitting alone in the room. Dawn began chatting nervously about the weather, the kids, etc. in an attempt to keep my mind off of things and to help me stay calm. I also knew this was a type of “defense mechanism” she uses to hide how scared she really is. She does this whenever she gets nervous or frightened so I just pretend to be interested and smile a lot. I was constantly squeezing her hand, not knowing if it was to reassure me or reassure her. Dawn and I have known each other since we were toddlers and it is almost like we know what each other is thinking. She knew how uncomfortable I am with “feelings” and such, so she kept the conversation light, covering such topics as what we were having for dinner, how much homework the kids had, and how much longer it would be until spring. I was extremely grateful for these “light” topics because I had no idea what to say if we talked about why we were in this room. I feared that the very mention of “it” would be more I could bear. No matter what the outcome of this visit was, I knew our lives would never be the same again. After what felt like an eternity to me, it was actually ten