Xavier Nazzal – “States of Mind” and “Lobby 7”

To delve the silent oceans deep

In search of wake in restless sleep

Is fact not fit for one to keep

And contributes not to what one should find.

To feel the sun beat down like flames

And count the desert sands to grains

In hopes of wise and tranquil gains

Will only make one scorched and burnt and blind.

I feel as though we may be sane

To think there is no one to reign

As we are here on this dark plain

Amidst isolation in humankind.

But still there is some sort of way

In which to stop this deadly fray

It is just as you always say

That reality is your states of mind.

Lobby 7

The building shot so high in the air it interrupted the flow of a cloud which passed by overhead precisely at the time in which I entered the golden revolving doors, finalizing my long awaited journey. My interview was scheduled for 12:00 PM sharp. To come all this way and miss the opportunity of a lifetime was by no means on my tightly-packed agenda. I stepped into the lobby which panned out around me, displaying itself in a grandiose fashion. The elevators were made of a gold-like material while the remainder of the wall, chiseled from what appeared to be the finest marble available, was covered in a detailed stretch of patterns made primarily from the same material as the elevator. The floor was configured of large, white tiles separated by shiny silver borders. The ceiling of the lobby was a non-distracting white and contained gold-colored sprinklers in the case of a fire.

I stepped casually onto the row of carpet, leading directly and definitely to the polished marble desk of the lobbyist.

“Hello,” I said smiling and introduced myself as an interviewee, “I was wondering where the interview will be held?”

“Lobby 7,” the lobbyist replied, motioning to the elevator.

I thanked her and continued on my journey, straying away from the desk and the carpet and heading in the direction of the elevator.

I stood patiently, watching the dial circulate until finally a “ding!” rang out from the machine and the golden doors of the elevator opened wide, revealing my method of transportation for the next few seconds.

Smiling softly to myself, I stepped into the elevator which contained an arrangement of mirrors, brushed my suit, straightened my tie, and watched the heavy, golden doors close in automatic, industrial harmony. Fixating my attention on the button pad, my eyes began to scan the surface of the contraption, searching with a growing haste for the coveted Lobby 7. After what seemed like an absurd amount of time, my eyes finally found what they had been looking for. I pressed the button marked “L7” and immediately felt a rising sensation, indicating that the elevator was working its job. I began to think to myself about the nature of the room in which my interview would be held. Would it be a large room? Would it be a small room? Would my interviewer be tall, short, or something in the middle? Would the room have a view down to the street below? I get dreadfully scared when heights are present you know. I chuckled to myself at the thought.

The elevator was yanked to a halt with the usual gravity sensation, finalizing my journey into what I hoped to be predetermined glory. I put my hat atop my head and straightened it. The golden doors hissed open.

Jungle trees engulfed my vision of the room. I was immediately hit by a wafting tropical mist. The faint screaming of monkeys could be heard from the trees and the sounds of what appeared to be Amazonian wildlife enveloped the rainforest scenery.

I stood in absolute disbelief, nearly dropping my coat and briefcase. A spider monkey stared back at me.

Instantly intrigued, I stepped cautiously into the forest. I turned and found that the elevator was nowhere to be seen. This was far from ideal. However, the forest floor upon which I stood was cleared of any undergrowth, indicating that this dirt stretch of botanical absence may indeed be a path leading to a village or some other place of hopeful refuge. Straightening up, I began to walk down the path, ducking occasionally to avoid the presence of unidentified tree animals leaping from branch to branch. Presently, I found myself bathed in midafternoon sunlight. The canopy had gradually been reduced to nothingness, resulting in the exposure of an overcast sky shrouded in gray monotony. The sun, a pale orb in the sky, offered just enough sunlight to prove sufficient to the trees, which, I could’ve guessed, were used to a more favorable forecast. However, the gray, overcast weather reminded me of the country’s usual weather. A weather that had been present at times of great joy, great friendship and great family. A reconnection with family and friends may soon be impossible given the circumstances of my situation. However, happy and cheerful thoughts such as these needed to wait. At this point in time, the interview was first and foremost. That was my sole priority.

I looked down from the sky, checked my wrist watch, and realized with a sudden horror that the time was precisely 11:57 AM. Terrified, I bolted down the path, smashing through low-hanging branches and waving away tree creatures with my suitcase. I plunged through the thickening jungle, shot up a fern-laden incline, and nearly fell into a massive river canyon, opposed only by a dilapidated hanging bridge, comprised of rotting planks and stringy ropes. Some of the planks were missing. 

The river, about thirty feet below me, roared with an insane, natural fury, smashing against gargantuan boulders and sending sprays into the air which rocked the bridge at a worrying intensity. My eyes shot to my wrist watch. 11:59. It was now or never.

As if in slow motion, I staggered to the bridge, completely out of breath from my long jungle run. I gripped the stringy rope which was soggy as a result of the river spray. I surveyed my stretch of bridge, searching for the nearest intact plank. Finding it, I inched myself forward, extending my leg while simultaneously gripping the rope with an insane intensity. The rope creaked and the bridge dipped dangerously, receiving a massive splash of spray. It remained there for a second and shot up again with an unstoppable magnitude. I was thrown into the air and landed on my back right where I had started.

By now, I had no choice. I turned and ran backwards a few paces, stopped, turned, and faced the bridge. I glanced at my watch. Fifteen more seconds to go. I braced myself and bolted full speed at the bridge. I leaped into the air and grabbed the rope with both hands as my feet smashed through the planks in the middle of the bridge. The bridge began to dip at a furious speed. Hurling the prospect of death from my mind, I hugged the left rope railing to my chest as my feet met the bottom part of the material, used to hold up the planks and give the bridge a form of structure. Frantically, I pulled myself as hard as I could up the railing rope while kicking to no avail at the bottom rope. At the last second, I gained footing and ran as fast as I could up the rope just as the center of the bridge smashed violently into a gargantuan boulder below. Breathing heavily, I clawed my way onto the forest floor. Sighing, I looked at my watch. It was 12:00 PM sharp.

I wasn’t late yet. Wasting no time, I picked myself up and ran at lightning speed down the remainder of the path. I ran as fast as I could and saw a door in the distance. I ran the last few lengths of the path, stopped to catch my breath, calmly opened the door and stopped.

A man was sitting at a desk, his arms folded calmly atop it, smiling. He glanced at a clock on the wall which read 12:00 and turned his attention back to me. Without changing his expression the man stared straight at me and said the two words I had most desired to hear: “You’re hired”.

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