The dead inside is beautiful. That is what was written on her arm. Chloe went to bed and somehow at some point during the night she woke up to write something down on her arm, the dead inside is beautiful, to remember for later. But she doesn’t remember ever writing the words down, and her mind draws a blank. She has no recollection or definite feeling. Eventually after a few minutes of waking up and clearing the cobwebs, she starts to admire the phrase, the words on her arm, and tries to imagine why, why would she think that. What dead. She keeps it written on her forearm and clenches her hand when she looks in the mirror and brushes her teeth. The morning is already hot and humid and bright. There is the wonderful feeling she has when she gives up on something and stops caring, in every little breath in her lungs. She says, The dead inside is beautiful. Okay.
She slips on her clothes and looks for her keys. Her blouse is unbuttoned until she gets to the door, looking at herself in the mirror. She has a bagel in her mouth and her hair is tied back. She leaves the radio on absentmindedly but has turned off all the lights, locked all of her doors. Everything she calls and knows as home is all under control, she doesn’t have to worry, not looking back as she leaves her apartment for work. She starts walking down the hallway.
When the elevator doors open, there is a naked man inside. He is all naked except he is wearing a ski mask and he is trying to cover himself, crouching inside his arms and hands in the corner. Chloe keeps repeating, Oh my God, and steps backwards against the wall. He runs embarrassed on to her floor, apologizing over and over again before sprinting out of view. Chloe goes inside the elevator and watches her face come together in the reflection of the copper elevator doors, realizing she is in the slightest way shaking her head. Because she does not push a button, just for a minute the elevator stays in the half glass half concrete shaft, daylight beginning on the other side of the wall. She says, Okay, okay, and rubs her chest, a little mindless.