There is a couple in front of me, waiting for the elevator. They know each other well and have for some time. You can see it, somehow, in the way they stand next to each other.
They are together.
She leans into him, and he puts an arm around her, runs his hand up the outside of her winter coat’s sleeve and pulls her close. She rests her head on his shoulder, looks up at him and smiles.
The elevator doors open, and the three of us step in.
We stare ahead, politely.
“I want to tell someone,” she says to him.
“It’s too early,” he says.
“Still,” she says. “I’ll burst if I don’t tell someone.”
I turn to face them. The woman looks at me and smiles.
“You can tell me,” I say.
“We’re pregnant!” they shout. And I don’t know this couple, this smiling, hand-holding couple, and yet goosebumps go up on my arms.
“Congratulations – wait, we’re happy about this, yes?!” I smile, to show I’m joking, that of course we are happy.
“Oh, yes,” and they are talking, the both of them, at once. “We’ve been trying for a while now – we want this baby so much – we’re so happy.”
“How far along are you?” I ask. “You look fantastic.”
“Six weeks,” she says, and a blush arises from the both of them.
“A summer baby! Plenty of time to tell people!” I enthuse. “Do you have a nursery?”
And for the next five floors, they tell me about the nursery, about the grandparents-to-be who will be so excited.
The doors to the elevator open on the ground floor. He puts his arm around her, guides her out the door. “Merry Christmas!” the man says. “Merry Christmas,” she says. She steps away from him, reaches out her hand to me. I take it.
“Merry Christmas,” I say, and tears come to both of our eyes.
“And a Happy New Year,” she whispers.