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I entered the building and I looked around at the stark white lobby of the apartment building. The ceiling seemed to go on forever and a grand crystal chandelier hung from the middle of it. My footsteps were loud as I crossed the room heading toward the elevator. There a man stood and pressed the up button for me. When I saw him first he blended into the walls: Caucasian, male, white uniform, light blonde hair.
But when the elevator opened a different man walked in with me. He was an African American man who was much older than the first man I saw. I shrugged it off and he clicked the button. I looked at what floor he had pressed; the 98th.
“How high does this building go?” I asked him politely.
“As high as you need it to go.” he answered smartly.
I looked to the buttons, and how as we passed each level the button flashed an eerie white. There were 116 floors. I was impressed. So many people must live in this building. I sighed; thinking about all the memories there must be in this place.
“There are, miss,” the man leaned in to whisper to me. He was an Asian man now, with the almond shaped eyes and the black short hair. Somehow I wasn't that shocked. I had this odd feeling that I was already used to it. The doors opened and I looked out the hallway. Turquoise. The walls were turquoise. My favorite color. I looked up and down the hallway. There had to be at least 50 rooms. And I had no idea which one was mine.
“Which one is mine?” I turned back to the man. Now he was a Hispanic young adult.
“They are all yours, miss. But you must decide which one you will enter. You can take a look if you would like, miss.”
That was when I noticed that no matter what nationality my attendant was, he had the same voice. If you could believe it, the voice had no accent of any kind. But yet, it was natural, not a robot voice.
I raised my eyebrow at the man. I was skeptical about this whole setup. But he bowed low and swept out his arm beckoning me down the hallway. I walked forward and picked a door at random. The door was a bright but dreary red and had no number on it. I turned the doorknob and swung the door open.
The room was filled with gas. The people in the room were chocking and crawling across the floor. They wore camouflage clothing and had heavy hard hats. The gas was concentrated in the back of the room and it slowly began to travel toward me. I quickly shut the door and was rejoined by the man in the hallway.
Although now, it was a woman. She had short cropped hair and wore a tight white dress. She took me by the shoulders and I was instantly comforted. I was then led by my mind to a room slightly down the hallway. This door was the same red but happier. I slowly turned the doorknob. I looked up to the woman for reassurance. She smiled and nodded. Then I opened the door.
This room was filled with smoke. There were so many men and women in this room, that I couldn't keep count. The woman were drinking martinis and laughing about nothing in particular. The men were drinking liquor and some were sitting at a gambling table. The place was hopping with music and all the couples started dancing.
In the back of my mind, I heard a voice to not pick this door. The voice told me that these things would lead to bad things. I closed the door slowly, watching the happy faces of the dancing couples. But suddenly, just as the person in the back of my mind had warned me, the scene changed. Their faces were gaunt and hollow. They looked sad. The room was sparse except for an ice box which was open. It was empty and dusty. I closed the door and put my hand to my chest. Those poor people.
“They’ll be ok,” said the new woman. She was blonde and tanned. Her hair was in ringlets but pulled back with a bandanna. She took my hand and we skipped down the hallway to another door. This door was red, white and blue, but not like the flag; it was in swirls. She opened the door this time and I saw a man and woman getting married. The priest closed his Bible and the couple kissed. Then the room spun around them. Now they looked sad and he was in a military uniform. She was pregnant and crying. He held her chin and kissed her forehead. The room spun again and it showed the man returning to his wife and baby. I began to walk forward because I liked this scene and wanted to stay. But the door was shut in my face. I looked to the woman and said,
“What did you do that for?” I immediately regretted what I had said because this woman was a child. She had dark chocolate-colored skin and two matching braids. She went to the door across the hallway and knocked. Then the door swung open.
When I looked in I saw a dinner table. It was set for twelve and there was a giant turkey in the middle of it. No people were around it, but I could tell who would be there. The grandparents, the kids, and grandkids all sitting around and laughing. I sighed and I liked this scene too. But I backed up and closed the door.
I realized that I had to look into every door and find the best one. The Hallway would also add more doors. More memories would immerge the longer I was there. Some doors I would be able to come back to, some I would not. Every door had its pros and cons. I would know.
Because I lived through it all.