The doors of the elevator of the Steigenberger Airport Hotel cracked open and I saw a reflection of my disheveled appearance. I barged into the extravagant cuboid as my trolley trailed in behind me. Immediately, I abandoned the handle of my trolley and tended to my shela (hijab). I just knew that it was ruined as it was pulled back on one side and the whole of my neck was visible. It was not a pretty sight. I tugged it back and damn, it was one of those bad hair days and hurriedly tucked it into place. The doors began to advance towards one another, just as they were about to close, four slender fingers slid in front of the sensors. I was too busy pinning my shela into place to notice the person who had entered the lift.
The doors had thudded close and suddenly I felt the presence of that person who stood next to me. I hate being stuck in the elevator with a man. It is a really unnerving situation and physically straining. I still hadn’t looked at his face, all I thought was, ‘Men…ugh…so intimidating’. As I turned away from the golden beaded mirror, my hand slightly brushed against the man’s and I had an irritated expression plastered on my face. I was going to give him a nasty glare and there he was, Thomas William Hiddleston, the man himself in FLESH AND BLOOD.
I was processing this fact, still considering whether I was dreaming or just too tired to contemplate reality. It took me ten seconds to react to his ‘physical presence’ right next to my measly and weary existence! I wanted to treasure the moment in my heart forever. I was done for life that was all. And then it happened, the moment where he acknowledged my existence in this universe.
“Terribly sorry about that.” He was being a gentleman about brushing my hand with his. I would take it a hundred times in a row after knowing that it was him! I was trying to frame coherent sentences in my brain, but hey, it had already frozen so I was on my own…without a brain, that’s right.
“Not a problem.” I blubbered. But I swear I don’t even know if I said that sentence right.
“Which floor do you want to go to?” He asked me since he was in the spot near the buttons. He had already punched in his floor number and the button imprinted with the number seven was glowing.
“Floor six, please.” And I thanked him immediately. The elevator was slowly advancing to its destination.
He pressed the button to my floor and I stared at him before posing my question. “I know this will sound ridiculous, but are you Tom Hiddleston?” Well, I had to confirm before I jump on him with joy.
“That would be me, yes.” And he grinned with all his teeth.
“Would it be too clichéd if I told you that I was you biggest fan?” I groped for more sensible and intelligent words, but I had none. Not after my thirty-six hours journey from Chennai to Frankfurt, taking god-knows-how-many connecting flights.
“That is so wonderful, it is so nice to meet you.” He said and he squeezed my shoulders and me being me, thought that he was going to give me a hug and I awkwardly turned in and clutched both my hands behind his neck. He smelled so beautiful and that began meddle with my brain’s normal functioning pattern. He did not seem to mind and returned the hug.
“I am going to need your autograph too, you know!” I blurted and just as he was about to release me from that heavenly embrace, the elevator came to a standstill and the lights went out, leaving a dimly lit light that came from the top corner above the mirror.
“Love, I think your autograph is going to have to wait.” He whispered for no reason. Maybe it is an actor thing to make everything dramatic? But damn, that sounded like melted chocolate oozing into my ears.
I was kind of scared and thrilled at the same time. The fact that I was stuck in the elevator with Tom in it would be a tale to tell the world. My watch flashed the time 9:20 pm, I was a little too smug about my digital glow-in-the-dark watch.
Tom coolly pressed the alarm button on the button pad and waited for a response from the reception of the hotel. They were apparently taking their own sweet time to respond. He did not seem panicky at all.
“You never told me your name.” He asked me while he smiled. I cleared my throat and said, “My name is Aaliya Thahseen and I am delighted to make your acquaintance.” I held my hand out and put on my best smile. He chuckled and shook my hand. ‘What a firm grip! And that hand, that gorgeous slender hand!’ I thought to myself.
The receptionist’s voice boomed through the tiny speaker, “We are sorry about the inconvenience caused. We are trying to revive the elevators at the earliest, please bear with us.” And that faint whirring sound stopped, indicating that the announcement was over. She did not even give us an opportunity to ask anything. I was fidgeting under the dim light, and I tried to start off the conversation casually. “You might have heard this a million times, but your portrayal of the character Loki (The Norse god of lies and mischief, also mentioned in the Marvel Comics and appeared in the Thor, Avengers and Thor II movies under the Marvel banner) has saved many lives.”
He simply gaped at me after I told him that. It frustrated me when I realised that he could gape so regally. ‘How can someone possess the ability to gape so regally?’ I thought. I elaborated on that abrupt statement and told him about my German Hiddlestoner (The truest fanatic of Tom Hiddleston) friend who almost committed suicide and he was literally her saving grace. I also added that he had met her at the Iron Man 3 screening in Los Angeles.
“She went into therapy after the suicide attempt. She had some enervating issues going on with her foster parents as well. You helped her, Tom. It doesn’t matter if Loki was used as a medium and for that I am immensely grateful to you!” He looked embarrassed because of the open compliments I threw at him, yet he smiled out of humility.
“Aah, indeed, I do remember her letter. She handed it to me personally and Luke simply snatched it from my hand. But I made it a point to read it. I think it was because of her eyes, there was something about her eyes!” I smiled at him and he smiled back. I felt like we connected there, it was a beautiful second that I would cherish for the rest of my life. I did not need to hear what he was thinking, because I knew that we were thinking about the same thing. For a second we even forgot about the temporarily broken elevator.
“Speaking of Luke, where is he now?” I pried.
“He took a week off, the poor chap needs his golden rest. He chuckled.
“I wanted to confirm one other thing though. Does your sister live in Chennai with her family?” I asked inquisitively.
“Sara! Of course, she does actually, and I visited her twice. I believe it was before I shot for Thor. Chennai is such a lively place, just the opposite of London. I love the vibes and it’s an extremely beautiful place with such vivacious food and culture.” He humbly replied.
“I practically live in Chennai and I am sorry to add that I don’t see the way you do. It is a tough place to adapt to. You should visit again though! I was really counting on you showing up and I was distraught once I heard that you won’t be coming for the special screening of Thor 2.”
“I’m afraid that was a terrible rumor, dear. I was in Korea during that time, promoting for Thor 2.” He always smiled when he replied to my stupid questions, well, I knew one thing for sure, the Tumblr posts were right about him being the sweetest gentleman known to mankind. I was in my happy place and I thanked the Lord in heaven for the little elevator accident. I guess I had gotten my Eid present in advance!
“Can I take a selfie with you when we are out of this mess? I would love to make my friend Ishrath writhe in agony once I send it over to her and make her jealous.” I grinned at him as I told him about my nasty intention.
“You seem to have a little bit of Loki in you, guess we all do. Why don’t we do it now, it would be real fun though. I have never taken a picture with a fan in a broken elevator, and maybe I can tweet about this bizarre encounter. What say you, little minion?” He said that last line in his Loki voice and I was focused preventing the melt-in-my-very-spot incident.
“And you have to do some of your amazing impressions, just a little bit though, I won’t bother you after that, I promise!” And he so sweetly obeyed and did a few of them which included the famous Alan Rickman impression, Yoda and even the Velociraptor. How could I let him go without making him say the legendary dialogue by Loki: “KNEEL.” I made him do that as well, it surprised me though, and how he willingly complied with my foolish whims.
After that we both pulled out our phones. He made me go first, obviously, with him being the sweetest man that he is.
“I hate to use the front camera when there is no light, damn, it will look like a horror movie shot.” I dejectedly admitted.
“Don’t worry, love, I am quite good at this. And if you are not happy about the picture, we can always click it again.” He hushed me like a baby, or was it my wild imagination?
Both of us activated the flash button for the back-camera of the phone, as the front-camera’s snap-shots would look like it popped right out of a horror movie. Tom’s elegant fingers snaked around my sleek phone as he tried to click the selfie. He warned me before he clicked the capture button and the both of us flashed our teeth at the camera. His arm was around my shoulder and I gripped his waist, hoping that the picture turns out well. He took a picture of us in his phone too.
“Oh look, Aaliya, I think the picture is fantastic. Does that look alright to you?” He gloated like a little boy while I was in the seventh heaven because he had just said my name. My name came out of his gorgeous mouth. That man never helps when it comes to thinking clean thoughts.
Just as I was about to say that I do agree with him because the picture looked great, the whirring sound came back and the receptionist politely announced that the elevator was almost fixed and they would power up in about two minutes. I was panicking because there were just two minutes left to spend with Tom.
“Don’t look so defeated, dear. I have a feeling that we will meet again in Chennai.” He winked much to my heart’s depression as it galloped like a team of hundred stallions.
Then the fan girl mode was switched on and I almost cried as I told him, “We love you, Thomas William Hiddleston. You are an amazing human being and the greatest actor of our generation. You made me want to read Shakespeare and for that I would be eternally grateful. Thank you for existing on this planet!” He started clapping right away, much to my amusement and grinned boyishly. He hugged me and said, “I am so grateful to fans like you and all the others out there who give me a purpose in my life and make me work hard to do what I do best. I am so glad I made you like Shakespeare.” He said fondly and he kissed me on the forehead and I was done for life then. The elevator whirred back to life and started to move upwards. I knew that my time was up but I was in my happy place to even give a damn. I was grinning like an idiot because his hand did not leave my shoulder. The elevator stopped at the seventh floor and then I realized that he had pressed his floor number before I had pressed mine, so it would automatically go to that floor.
“I guess this is goodbye then, love. Have a wonderful life and don’t stop smiling because you look beautiful when you do.” He sincerely meant it when he said that, it just had to be his eyes though. We both got off on the seventh floor corridor as I did not want to ride it alone, fearing that I would be stuck in it all by myself if it were to cause any more troubles.
I hurriedly pulled out a little black notebook from my backpack and I opened a fresh page and thrust it into his hands gently, simultaneously handing out a pen as well. He smiled as he wrote in my book and I was surprised when he continued to write on the next page as well.
“You are to read it only when you go into your room and slump on your bed. Bye now, love and take good care of yourself.” He hugged me quickly, one last time and guided me towards to the staircase door. He waited until I reached the sixth floor and then walked off to his room.
I was still in shock as I punched in the card in the card slot and the room came to life. I threw my bags on the small counter and washed up quickly. I could not wait to see what he wrote in my book. I whooshed out of the rest room, grabbed my black book and slumped on the bed. I actually followed his orders, I realized. I opened the dog-eared page and stopped at his tiny scrawls.
Beautiful people like you help me to strive every day. Don’t ever stop smiling. Have a great future.
Buckets of love,
The next page had an interesting little message for Ishrath, it said,
I hope you don’t get mad at Aaliya when she riles you up about not meeting me. You know I love you.
Buckets of love,
I simply fell in love with the man I had just met in the elevator, all over again. How was I ever going to forget those glorious ten minutes?