You can’t force love. I’ve tried. Well maybe not love, but a crush. I wanted desperately for our meet-cute to be my story, our story. Have you ever forced a door opened and gotten in? I have. Have you ever forced a friend to go to a Tuesday happy hour because “why the hell not?” Guilty again. Well, my latest venture with this love/crush was kind of looking like that, except even less romantic than either of these examples. He was my elevator crush and his name was Rob.
When I moved into my new apartment building a year ago I thought the hallways smelled a bit like Lysol and Chai, and I was kind of into it. Taller ceilings and a two bedroom, two bath were all I needed; I had no idea I’d be meeting my potential soul mate in the elevator.
I used to leave the apartment at 8:15 every day to walk to work, and every day this tall, kind-looking guy would get in on the 3rd floor and join me on my ride down. His pants were just about an inch and three quarters too short and he carried a dark brown briefcase. His hair was combed to the side and he had one dimple that showed every time he did that half-smile while avoiding eye contact with me in the elevator. Every morning we would briefly lock eyes and then look off at the wall as if it had something more important to say than the “hello.”
This charade went on for 3 months. Every. Single. Day.
And then on a random Wednesday evening I decided to divert from my regular walk home and bop into a sushi place to treat myself. I ordered my salmon rice bowl and as I paid, I looked over and saw someone ordering next to me. Brown briefcase, 6’3’’, averting eye contact…it was him. Out in the wild. My elevator crush.
Instead of looking at him, I quickly paid and walked towards the exit when it hit me, this was the whole “outside your comfort zone” thing people talk about. So I stopped walking, and went towards the napkin station to load up on napkins until I gained the courage to say hello.
And then, with all the strength of an army, I walked up to him.
Me: Do you live in [insert my apartment building]?
Him: Um yes..
Me: Same! I think we’ve been on the elevator a weird amount of times together.
Him: Oh yeah, hey.
Me: Yes so weird! So I’m Kate…
We spoke for a few more minutes as they prepared his food and then he said he was going to a “friend’s” house so he couldn’t walk home with me. Looking back, he probably just lagged behind and walked home alone. If he had done the same to me (and I wasn’t mesmerized by his dimple) I would have discreetly avoided a private walk with him too.
Rob and I stopped seeing each other after that. Literally. I started going into work before 8:00 and his elevator time was 8:15, so we missed each other. I ran into him once a few weeks ago outside our building at noon. I had rushed home to pick something up during lunch, and he told me he was leaving to Richmond to visit his family for the weekend.
“It’s been a while” he said, but all I could see were his new pants, perfect length. It was suddenly clear that I had tried to make that moment at the sushi place a “thing”, you know, a moment that we’d look back on and it would be awkward but endearing, instead of what it actually was, which was forced and bland.
I know I need to move on. I could be wrong, but I think I deserve someone that will at least make eye contact with me when they see me every day for three months. I also need someone that has the common courtesy to say hello in the elevator.
Those months “with” Rob will always be something we’ll have, though–an extended meet-cute that disintegrated into a walking briefcase and his chatty neighbor.