I got on the elevator in a fancy hotel. I hit the button for the lobby. Under the buttons was a screen that showed different information depending on which button you press. It was showing me the three worst professions in the world. A couple floors later a guy and a girl get on. The guy’s shirt is open half way down, and he’s wearing a wool sport coat. His hair is dark and stylishly long. The woman is beautiful, with short blond hair, and a short, tight, strapless blue dress. They see the screen and joke about lawyers being right at the top.
“I’m a statistician,” I say with a grin as the elevator reaches the lobby. “It’s number three.”
“Chess player is number one,” says the woman as we walk out into the hotel lobby, which is tiled with the slippery, hexagonal tiles that they’re replacing at all the outdoor DC Metro stations.
I turn to look at her and I feel sad. “I love to play Chess.”
She smiles and puts her arm around me as we walk toward the escalator into the Metro station. “I like you,” she says.
“I like you too. What’s your name?”
“You can call me Poppa.”
We go down the escalator with our arms around each other, looking at each other and smiling. We’re standing side by side on the escalator, but there is still room for people to walk down past us on my left. “That’s a very beautiful dress,” I say.
She says something sarcastic, like “Oh yeah, I liked it too when I saw it in the store.”
I look away, hurt. She asks me what’s wrong. “I thought you were the kind of woman who would like that,” I say.
We get to the turnstiles. I go in first, and when I look back at her, she’s having problems with her money. I turn around to watch where I’m going, and I see Adam from work waiting for his train. He asks me how my day is going. I say “great” and turn around with a smile to look at Poppa. She’s not there.
I frantically look in all directions trying to find Poppa. I can’t see her anywhere. “Poppa?” I start to run down the platform, yelling out “Poppa?!” There’s a jersey barrier running down the platform, and I jump over it because there are fewer people and I can run faster, still yelling out “Poppa?!” Then I realize the jersey barrier is there to separate the people getting on the train from the people getting off the train, and I’m on the wrong side. I jump back over it, afraid they’ll make me pay twice to get on the train. I look everywhere for Poppa, but she’s nowhere to be found.
I wake up with the feeling that I will see a beautiful blond woman on the Metro in the morning. I don’t.