When I entered the elevator, I saw a man in it. He was well dressed and had his hair neatly combed, while I looked so slumpy that it made me feel embarrassed. He smiled when I entered, but I turned my back to him. He already had pressed the button for the lobby. As the doors closed he said something to me that I didn't understand.
“Je ne parle pas français,” I stummered.
“But I speak English,” he said, with just the slightest possible French accent.
“Oh,” I said. It gave me a little comfort, I don't know why.
“No, I'm here for a conference.”
“Ah,” he agreed. “Enjoying the city?”
“Yes, very much,” I answered.
“Where are you from?”
“Ah, such a nice town,” he said.
“No, I'm leaving tomorrow.”
“Ah,” he sighed. He must have been only three or four years older than I, but something about him made me feel childish, inexperienced.
“Was it a good conference?”
Then the elevator stopped, and we left for the lobby. For a split moment I thought he'd ask me to have dinner with him. But he just said, “Enjoy the rest of your stay,” and walked away, as I went to see if could find anybody I knew. Maybe I'll meet him again when I take the elevator back to my room... oh, what am I saying.
I entered the elevator after another wasted day, and now I had to go back home. I never liked elevators. Well, I suppose nobody does. Anyway, it stopped just one floor below and this girl walked in; she was short, looking down, clearly a foreigner, but she had a certain relaxed look that made me feel so interested. She turned her back to me, but I asked if she was a guest of the hotel.
“Je ne parle pas français,” she said hesitatingly, in a terrible English accent. I think I smiled.
“No problem, I speak English.” She seemed relieved. I wondered if she was alone. “Are you on holiday?”
“No, there's a conference in the hotel.” I nodded.
“No time to see the city?”
“Just a little,” she added, half sad. “But it's pretty.”
“Where are you from?”
“Bath,” she answered.
“Nice place,” I said, remembering a remarkable weekend I spent there, though, to say the truth, the city itself had nothing to do with it.
“Not really,” she said. She seemed a quiet, nice girl, but not interested in me.
“No, last day here.”
“Well, I hope you enjoyed your time here.”
“Have a nice trip back,” I said, as the elevator doors opened. Back to my empty apartment, while she enjoys the end of her trip with her friends, maybe some guy she met here. I almost asked if she wanted to have dinner with me, but the day had been bad enough without hearing “no” from a pretty girl.