Friday, December 5, 2014

Stuck, But Found

I'm typically a pretty organized person.
Especially around the holidays.
So, imagine my surprise when, as I'm preparing Christmas dinner, I realize that I have either misplaced or forgotten a few key items. 
Damn it.
Now I have to run to the store. I HATE running to the store for things like this, especially around this time of year, when other people who forgot stuff is there. 
It will be packed, it always is.
I head down with a list, running toward the elevator that I see is about to close. I slide in just as the doors shut. Shew....made it. We start our decent down and I look around at my new friends. I see my neighbor, Merv, who smells oddly like eggs. I also see the Yings with their unruly little ankle bitter of a dog, Precious. 
I was just standing there, watching the floor numbers flash on the screen when suddenly, the elevator car lurched and stopped. 
We all look around at each other, neither of us sure what to do.
"Should we jump?" says Merv.
"That doesn't really work!" says Mr. Ying.
"There is a phone right there.....let's just call down and let them know we are stuck," I said, reaching toward the phone.
I lift the receiver only to hear silence. Evidently those things only work in movies.
"How about cell phone reception?" Mrs. Ying says, pulling out her cell phone. We all followed suit.
No signal.
"Yip yip yip yap yap yap" says Precious.
Merv steps forward and pushed all of the buttons.
"HEY!!! Don't do that!!!" I cry.
"It works in movies!" He defended himself.
"Yea, well this isn't a movie. This is real freaking life!" I said, starting to get anxious. I don't like confined places.
"Okay, maybe if we all yell, at the same time, someone will hear us," Mr. Ying offered.
Hell, it was worth a shot.
I held up my hand and counted off to 3, then we all yelled "HHHHHHHEEEEELLLLLLPPPPPPPPP".
Then we waited.
And waited.
And waited some more.
"Yip yip yip yap yap yap" from Precious, followed by a very suspicious smell.
"UGH!!! Did Precious just fart?!" I cried, covering my nose.
"Well, we were on our way down to walk her......"
Oh, this will be fun.
I glance hopefully at my cell phone, wondering if I can dial 9-1-1 without a signal. It's worth a shot.....
I slide to the floor, moaning, when a thought hit me.
My stove is on.
I have food cooking.
I look up, trying to figure out if I can climb out of the top.
Then I remember that I'm not the slightest bit athletic.
"Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh stove is on. I have food cooking.....guys, this isn't good!" I cry, panic starting to set in. "What if something catches fire? What if I burn my dinner? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!"
"Hey, just calm down. We will be rescued soon. I'm sure someone is trying to use the elevator and they have already realized that it's stuck," Mr. Ying tried to ration as he, too, sat down on the floor.
I eyed Precious, was sniffing around like she was trying to find a place to relieve herself. I seriously hope she doesn't poop.
Mrs. Ying and Merv join Mr. Ying and I on the floor.
"So, do you have family coming over?" I ask them.
"No. I don't have any contact with my family," says Merv.
"Why not?" I ask.
"Well, they disowned me after I came out to them a few years back. I was on my way to the local homeless shelter to volunteer like I do every year. I'd just finished making deviled eggs, over 300 hundred of them, for the dinner tonight," he said.
"Our only child passed away a couple of years ago and we don't have any family here, so we just celebrate alone. We got Precious to try to fill the void a little bit. She does, but not nearly enough. This was our son's favorite holiday, so it's hard for us. We rescued Precious from a shelter, where she was placed due to being abused. We have calmed her down a lot, but she is still really anxious from the torture she endured," said Mrs. Ying, petting the dog in question.
"What about you?" Mr. Ying asked.
"It's just me this year too. My parents died when I was young and my foster parents were horrible, so I don't have anyone to spend the holidays with," I said. "I always make enough food, as if my parents were coming, but it's always just me. I was on my way to the store, because I'd forgotten a few things."
I looked at my cell phone and realized that a few hours had passed. I let out a sigh, thinking of the food that was surely ruined now.
Just then, they elevator lurched again and, finally, the doors opened. We cheered as we stood up. Mr. and Mrs. Ying took Precious outside, Merv headed in the direction of the homeless shelter. I headed toward the stairs to see what damage was done.
As I walked into my apartment, I was hit with an idea. Checking on the food, I noticed that only some of it was ruined, nothing that couldn't be replaced. I quickly headed to the store, bought some items, then headed home and finished the meal. Then I went to Merv's and knocked, knowing he was home. I pinned a note to his door, then headed to the Ying's and done the same thing. Then I headed back to my apartment. 10 minutes later, my door opened and in walked my new friends.
"The holidays shouldn't be a time of loneliness or sadness for us. They should be a time of happiness. So I invite you to be my family and enjoy the holiday with me," I said, handing them each a gift, giving the Ying's a third gift for Precious.
They opened their gifts and looked at me with tears in their eyes. For Merv, I'd given him a book that a dear friend had given to me. It was about a gay man that overcame being ostracized from his family and became a successful philanthropist. To the Ying's, I'd given them a certificate for a dog therapist to help with Precious' anxiety, as well as a certificate indicating a plaque was being placed on the memorial for their son, who was also a Veteran. For Precious, I got a calming vest, to help soothe her when she became overwhelmed.
All three looked at me, tears standing in their eyes.
"We didn't get you anything...." Merv said.
"Join me for dinner. That's all the gift I need."
We sat down and enjoyed a dinner together. We laughed, we cried. We shared memories both good and bad.
I learned a lesson on this day. Don't judge people without getting to know them. And keep your heart open to a family that you least expect.

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week, 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.  

My subject was "
You just wanted to run to the market for some last minute errands for your big family dinner … Now it's 4:30pm, and it looks like you and your fellow elevator riders won't get out for at least 3 hours. No cell reception. How is your day going to unfold?" and it was submitted by the lovely Tamara from Confessions of a part-time working mom. Thank you for the subject!

Please do me a favor and see what the others have in store for you.                          Baking In A Tornado                                       The Momisodes                          Spatulas on Parade                            Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                        Stacy Sews and Schools             The Bergham’s Life Chronicles               Evil Joy Speaks                    Juicebox Confession                       Confessions of a part-time working mom           Silence of the Mom                         Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                         Climaxed


  1. LOVE this!! Such a wonderful holiday story!!!! Love the message!!!!!!

  2. This gave me all the good feels! Love what you did with this prompt!

  3. LOVE this story and especially the sentiment of accepting others and creating family.

  4. Aaawww, this is EXACTLY what I had in mind when I submitted this prompt - only more beautiful! :-)
    Thank you for the gift of a wonderful Christmas story!
    I meant to ask you: didn't you invite somebody for your Thanksgiving dinner? How did that go?

  5. You have such a beautiful soul. All the good feels!!

  6. I don't like elevators for that reason, getting stuck.
    Love the blog header you have up now. Cute
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

  7. Excellent take on your subject! Love it!

  8. LOVE THIS! Made me tear up! And is one I'm going to read to my kids because so many lessons! Thanks for something I will pass on and on!!!! YOU ROCK!


So....what did you think? And are you THAT Sarah Michelle?