Ben doesn’t like elevators. Being in close contact with others and forced into awkward silence or banal smalltalk is his own personal hell.

We spend a lot of time in elevators.

I stand still as a statue as he twiddles his thumbs and stares up at the floor indicator. Fifty more to go. Ben sighs. His eyes wander around the tiny elevator car.

“New sweater?” He asks.

“Yes,” I reply, quietly admiring it’s red and gold wool fibers. “Do you like it?”

He shrugs.

Silence. Thirty floors left to go.

“I don’t like wool.” He says, out of the blue. “It’s itchy.”

“It is?”

Ben stares at me, then averts his eyes. “Yeah, well. For people I mean.”

I glance down briefly. Brown loafers, tan slacks, and a striking wool sweater over a shiny metal chassis. Idly, I wonder what it’s like to “itch.”

Ben sticks his hands in his pockets and paces around the car. Ten floors left to go.

“Fuckin’ music is driving me crazy,” he mutters.

“I think it’s pleasant.”

When we arrive, Ben says I’m taking the stairs back down.

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