Current working draft…
Jesse Youngblood walked into the lobby of the Ayers Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama; her body went ridged, childhood fears returned as she stopped in front of the elevator doors. The doors opened, she shut her eyes tight and walked quickly through them, she did not need to look to know that the tarnished brass rail was next to her; feeling ashamed that after more than thirty years she still associated the old elevator with a tragic time in her life.
An elderly man walked in behind her, waited for a few moments then began clearing his troth.
“Young lady are you going to just stand there with your eyes closed or do you intend to select a floor?” The voice dripped of southern politeness laced with attitude.
“I’m sorry sir, the tenth floor please.” Her voice apologetic Jesse could feel his irritability, but she kept her eyes closed.
Assuming she was not going to surrender her hold on the railing, he reached out selected his floor and pushed the button for the top floor as well. The antiquated elevator cables creaked and groaned as Jesse counted each floor that they passed, then it stopped on the ninth floor; the old man grumbled under his breath as he got off. Then the intimidating climb continued but Jesse was excited to be back, it had been only five years since her aunt made the decision to change the building from a hotel to apartments; of course, her Aunt Biana still occupied the entire top floor or penthouse as some tenants refer to it.
Finally, the doors opened and so did her eyes, she stepped quickly into the entrance hall where nothing had changed. Her aunt, owner of the hotel decided five years earlier to have it renovated into apartments; but the tenth floor was like stepping back into time. Mirrors in gilded frames, drawings of known and unknown artists lined the walls; colossal vases filled with multicolored plumes stood tall like sentries at the entrance door. Time had left its mark on everything, the building, maybe the life beyond the door. Jesse did not know what she was going to find on the other side, but she was home.