Bang. The lift goes dark, drops then stops again. An emergency light flicks on. Five of us stalled in yellow half-light.

‘Anyone claustrophobic?’ It’s Business Suit. He got on at 5 with the Stilettos but I don’t think they’re together.

‘A little. I’ll be OK.’ Bicycle Girl looks nervous.

The student guy who got on with me at 4 passes her a water bottle.


Then Business Suit sidles across to the young guy. ‘How’s your love life, Son?’

Creep, I think. His breath smells of beer and chips.

Student says it’s nothing much.

”You got your eye on someone?’

‘Yeah. I guess.’ Soon he’s telling us about a girl with purple hair and we want it to work out for him.

Bicycle Girl gives him some gentle advice. She’s in a new relationship—she’s not sure if it’ll last.

‘Gotta give it a go,’ I say. And before I know it I’m talking about Ben and the kids.

Stilettos says she’s between flings. ‘Nice ones—you know—but nothing long-term. We’re swapping stories when we hear the whimpering. Business suit is in the corner, wallet open, stroking a group of photos in their plastic pocket frame.