Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Elevator

Photo from here. 

I was living in Syquia, where quite a number of old friends and acquaintances from my salad days also resided. Christiane was still my roommate and partner-in-crime, and Rafael, an old college classmate whom I didn't really like but was civil to, lived in the apartment across the hall.

Elsewhere in the building lived a motley crew of friends - designers, fellow advertising people, artists, writers. It was a good time to be alive; we were young, artsy, and ruled Malate with an arched brow and a snide smirk. And it was good to live in Syquia. Our lives were interesting, enviable. Lives full of promise, pride, and privilege.

And we knew it.

I was living on one of the middle floors and had been in Jojo's unit retrieving my cameras, which I had somehow left there from one of his previous wild and raucous parties. I went to the lobby and waited for the ancient elevator to arrive, too lazy to take the stairs down to my unit.

The heavy, creaking sound indicated that the venerable old elevator had finally arrived . Its doors opened and inside, I saw Richie - a photographer - a Brazilian girl I vaguely knew, her boyfriend-of-the-moment, and the old elevator man.

Before stepping in, there was a quick flash in my mind - no more than a nanosecond - that something was about to go terribly wrong. But I paid it no heed and absently got in, nodding to Richie as I did so.

No sooner had the doors closed when quick as a thought, the carriage immediately plummeted in a freefall. As in most life-threatening incidents, everything happened in slow motion, although in reality, everything was happening very, very quickly.

I hoped and waited that the carriage would suddenly come to an abrupt stop midway, jolting us with its immediacy, but no. We just kept on falling. Falling. Falling.

I remember the Brazilian girl with her mouth open in a terrified scream - only there was no sound. Richie was in front of me, huddled over, frozen in fear. I remember turning to the elevator man as I held on to the braces, asking if there was some way we could activate an emergency stop. He merely shook his head, tears in his eyes, and cried "No, no, no!"

It was then, with a sinking heart, that I knew we were going to die.

It felt like we were falling forever, and everything in the elevator was curiously white - the kind you'd think a soul sees when it ascends into the great hereafter.

I remember regretting not listening to that warning flash in my head earlier, that something was going to go terribly, terrifyingly wrong. And that because I didn't listen to my instincts, I was most certainly - along with my fellow passengers - going to die a horrible death.

I remember the feeling of utter helplessness, but there was no panicked desperation to somehow find a way out of the elevator. There was just a numb, pleading resignation. And the bitter agony of waiting for everything to be over.

I remember thinking that it was taking an awfully long time for us to hit the ground. Yet the freefall continued, all hope lost, but the gruesome end still nowhere in sight.

I remember that I heard myself uttering the last lines of Padre Nuestro, which I remembered as being especially tragic because I never prayed in Spanish except to mock my grandmothers. And among my panicked yet strangely-calm thoughts,  there was a cold realization that these were to be my final moments on earth. My last seconds of life, waiting for the inevitable.



Waiting for death.

Then I woke up.


  1. whew! pati ako pinagpawisan at namutla habang binabasa. hahaha. good thing it was only a dream.

  2. crazy writing,rudeboy. You've got serious skillz. :-)

  3. gosh! na-stress ako. hehe! nice one. :)

  4. death is also a renaissance euphemism for the big O.

    wala lang hahahaha

  5. i hate having nightmares where i'm about to die. that sucks.

  6. buti pa ang bangungot mo, madrama.

  7. @ beki : Oh, sorry 'bout that. Unfortunately, my nightmares often involve falling from great heights and anticipating the bone-crushing impact.

    @ Sonia : Aw, you're too kind, Sonia. But thanks!

    @ Aris : Welcome to my nightmares :P

    @ Ternie : Le petit mort?

    @ engel : Have you ever woken up from a dream inside a dream? I find that even more frightening because of the realization that I am several layers from my waking state and reality.

    @ Ming : I'd rather that drama stays in my dreams rather than in my waking life.

  8. the elevator picture creeped me out to begin with. arrgh, this should have a disclaimer: not for the faint of heart! hehe

    lol @eternal wanderer. hehe

  9. munti ka ng hidni magising sa bangungot na yun. huwag ka ng masyadong kumain bago matulog ha!

  10. @ Herbs D.: Was that an allusion to my salad days? Why, you naughty, naughty - !

    @ Darc : I do love those old elevators in post-war buildings like Syquia and Angela apartments. The ones that have those iron gates. They're just so film noir-ish. Perfect settings for illicit kisses.

    Or murder.

    *Thinks of Angie Dickinson getting slashed to ribbons in the elevator with a razor in Brian de Palma's Dressed To Kill.*

    @ Ternie : I wonder what would happen if you and I got stuck in an elevator together.

    @ ewik : Uhm, it has nothing to do with eating, ewik, because I barely eat. No, what's a little discomfiting is that this is the third dream involving death that I've had this month.


  11. the last time i had a dream almost like that, it was Nyl's interpretation that turned out accurate.....

  12. *assaults errrr CONSULTS Nyl's crystal balls*

  13. then you open your eyes and appreciate life even more

  14. @ MkSurf8 : Corny as it may sound, yes. Waking up from a nightmare where you're about to die makes you happy to be alive.

  15. ternie + ruddie + stuck elevator = Der große Tod


  16. *assaults errrr CONSULTS Nyl's crystal balls*

    i see.. i see.. ooh! i see. haha

    kidding aside, i read this quote from a coffee table book: if you wait long enough, suddenly nothing will happen. maybe you've been stressing out over something. just relax and take time to smell my roses err the roses. haha

  17. oh and most dream dictionaries claim that dying = changing. maybe (just maybe) you've been expecting a really abrupt change but it's not happening.

  18. @ citybuoy : Ah, there you are. And yes, just yesterday I came across a random article about dreams, and you're correct. Dreams involving dying tend to signify changes and/or endings - not necessarily mortality.

    And yes, I was stressing out over something. Now I resume waiting. Waiting, waiting.

    @ Ternie : Ach,Versprechungen,