15,000 Feet – Chapter VI

Finding refuge in the armchair/blanket, Linus’. Burying oneself from shame. With a leap the boy has already closed the front door. He’s on the first step. “The elevator is broken, there are five flights of stairs to climb… Is it a problem?” “No, of course not!”

What the fuck, Debby, you have just burned the last chance to flee. You could have said: “I sprained my ankle in the gym… Six floors, don’t know if I can make it… Say hi to Fefé.” It would have worked. What could he do? Carry you in his arms?
Debby observes the black Converses, the boy’s. They climb swiftly. Three steps at a time, he reaches the second floor.

Yes, pehaps he would have! Carry you in his arms. He could fail his mission… Take you to Fefé! If he didn’t, what would they all have said?

And meanwhile terror runs along the banister.

Still four flights to go, and then everyone will laugh their head off. When they hear about the helmet!

Second flight of stairs.

“Are you tired?” “No, why?” Debby can’t make it… Three steps at a time… She just can’t do it… I’m a third…. Of  his height!

Third flight of stairs.

He’s a perfect guide! The boy stops at each floor. And waits. Debby fakes she is tying her shoe… because she can’t keep up.

“What are you doing, tying them?”
How embarrasing! Again! Debby what’s with your head! You don’t tie Converses.

“No, it’s just that the shoe laces are too long…” Black Converses in front, blu Converses trudging behind. Another flight of stairs. Martyrdom is near! I can just see his mouth, widening and laughing… Fefè never controls himself! He will keep… Perhaps he’ll stop… Only for five minutes, then it comes back to him. And bursts out laughing again. Attracting everyone’s attention … on the mishap… again!

Another landing, the last one! Debby can’t keep from panting. “Hey… you are exhausted… My fault… I go too fast… I’ll stop!” A gasp and a puff. Debby is still trying to preserve some dignity. “No, it’s just that I overdid it today in the gym… I’m pooped!” Come on, Debby, only two more steps to go!

The boy holds out his hand.

No, not the hand! Think I’m an old bag? This guy really wants to humiliate me… Show him who you are!

Debby ignores the hand and runs up the last steps.

In defiance. The boy’s hand rotates. In front of Debby. Held out.

“Happy to meet you! Tsunami! No, I mean… Simone… But they call me Tsunami!”

Bad day! All he wanted to do was to introduce himself… Third faux-pas. Gees, but he’s really a geek! Who ever shakes hands any more? Absurd! And what, do you introduce yourself while you are climbing stairs?

Debby’s hand doesn’t move.

“I washed them. Before coming down… I mean, I wouldn’t want you to think… But you are right. Nowadays eveyone’s obsessed. By diseases I mean… I swear, you can rest easy!”

Dabby’s hand frozen in embarrassement. Another THMP in her thoughts. She rigidly holds it out, but can’t control her voice… which blurts out an acute… “Debby!” “Hush, we are on stairs, Fefè doesn’t want problems with the other tenants!”  “Okay…” whispers an exhausted Debby.

From all those steps and the embarrassing faux-pas. Black Converses and blue Converses brave together the last flight of stairs. Doorbell. A flurry inside Debby’s head: It’s over!   


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