All the while facing front as most do in an elevator, Joe was starting to shift his weight from one foot to the other. It was crowded and he was starting to feel claustrophobic. People on every side seemed too close. He could hear them breathing and some were whispering to each other. He heard a chuckle from someone ahead of him, wondered if they were laughing at him. He had always been larger than any of his classmates and as an adult, his weight continued to increase. He was never comfortable in small spaces because of his bulk.
As Joe tried to calm himself, the thought preyed on his mind he was taking up too much space in this box. He was sure they were all thinking, this guy’s too big, he should have waited for a less crowded lift. In reality, Joe had recently lost about two hundred pounds, but the effects of carrying that weight took a toll on his legs and knees and it was difficult to stand upright with nothing to hold onto. At three hundred pounds, still, Joe started to sweat, thinking “it’s the worst thing I could do”.
Having a paranoid panic, Joe fumbled with his phone in his pocket. He put his briefcase between his feet to take up less space. He was sure the whispers were about him, some even holding their nose, but his sweat continued. Then the elevator lurched to a stop. It was only a temporary halt because it continued to move downward. Persons around him looked at each other inquisitively, and it seemed to Joe they might think his weight caused the sudden stop.
After another fifteen minutes that seemed like months, the elevator smoothly halted and the doors opened. Everyone in the elevator looked out to see a group of people waiting. Then each one pushed their way onto the lift and the original passengers were unable to leave. The crowd wormed their way in and the doors closed again.
Shocked previous occupants were shoved into the back, but Joe stood his ground. As he was closely surrounded, the perspiration increased, his man-sized deodorant had failed and suddenly people started fainting. Soon, Joe was the only one left standing in a pile of passed out passengers.
The elevator stopped again, the doors opened and Joe stepped over everyone and out of the box. The doors closed behind him. Joe could not help but sport a grin as he walked home.