Short Story #304: The Way up to Heaven by Roald Dahl

Title:  The Way up to Heaven

Author:  Roald Dahl


Photo of Roald Dahl: Source Foster is particularly concerned about time and missing appointed times for trains, showtimes, and planes.  It was a fault that her husband seemed to regularly exploit, delaying and hesitating often enough that it increased her anxiety around everything they did.  However, one time, it becomes overwhelmingly clear that he is trying to ruin her plans.  As it happens, she is planning a trip to visit her daughter and grandchildren in Paris for a month.  She is looking forward to the trip and feels emboldened by it being a solo journey.   On the morning that they are depart, the husband is particularly slow.  As she waits for her husband to join her, she sees the clock tick away, making it increasingly closer to when the plane will take off.  At every opportunity, the husband delays and distracts.  He isn't ready for the agreed upon time, and finds different things to delay departure.  All the while, he emphasizes that the fog is likely to delay departure.  During this time, he explains that he will be closing the apartment for the month and living at the club while she is away.  They finally leave but run into traffic along the way to which he insists that they might as well give up.  Mrs. Foster refuses to give up and heads into the terminal where she finds that the plane is delayed but she plans to stick around, sending her husband home.  Hours later, they cancel the flight until the next day and she calls her husband letting him know.  She considers getting a hotel room nearby but he insists she comes home and so she does.  The next morning is a repeat of the day before with all the delays.  When she finally gets him back into the car, he says he must return to the apartment to get something that she meant to give her the day before.  He leaves to get it and she discovers that he had crammed the gift into the seat cushions.  She goes upstairs to tell him but before she enters the apartment, she hears a noise from inside and turns around immediately.  She tells the driver to go.  She makes her flight and enjoys her visit, writing regularly back to her husband and hinting to her family that she would be back in Paris soon.  She returns to New York and goes to her apartment.  As she wanders through the house, her husband is nowhere to be seen.  Finally, she calls an elevator service to get her elevator repaired because it is jammed between two floors.


I love that the ending is so understated.  Dahl doesn't give us the corpse, but we know what's waiting behind those elevator doors.  
Short Story #304 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  10/15/2014
Source:  You can read the full story at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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