Hello everyone. I am reading a novel, and I came across this expression. Could you please let me know its meaning?

I would have wanted her to press the stop button as soon as the doors had closed and say she’d forgotten something, and would I mind holding the door for her. Who knows where all this might have led, especially if some of her friends spied me waiting for her by the open elevator door—Just take off your coat and enough with this going-once, going-twice routine. Or the old, jiggly elevator could stop between floors and trap us in the dark and let this hour be a night, a day, a week, as we’d sit on the floor and open up to each other in ways we hadn’t done all evening long, in the dark, for a night, a day, a week—to sit and listen to the sound of the superintendent banging away at cables and pulleys and not care at all, seeing we were back to Dostoevsky’s “White Nights” and Rilke’s Nikolai Kuzmich, who ended up with so much time on his hands that he could afford to squander it as much as he pleased, in big bills or small—spend, spend, spend, and like him I would ask time for a huge loan and allow this elevator to be stuck forever. They’d lower down food, drinks, a radio even. Our bubble, our dimple in time. But our elevator kept going down: seventh, sixth, fifth. Soon it would be over. Soon, definitely.

- André Aciman, Eight White Nights, First Night

This is a novel published in the United States of America in 2010. This novel is narrated by the nameless male protagonist who meets Clara at a Christmas party in Manhattan. When the protagonist says he should leave the party, Clara, who is still at the party, says she would walk him to the nearest bus station. So they are now in the elevator together to leave the building, and the protagonist imagines that the elevator should stop right then and there so that they would stay in the elevator together.

Here, I wonder what the underlined expression means.

I learned in the dictionary that "dimple" can mean "a small indentation of flesh when one smiles", but I am still not sure what "bubble" and "dimple" in time might mean...

Thank you very much for your help. Emotion: smile

Curious ReaderI am still not sure what "bubble" and "dimple" in time might mean...

I believe the phrase is supposed to evoke the idea of a very brief, special, and meaningful amount of time on a human scale compared to the incomprehensible billions and billions of years of the universe.

The expression "ripple in time" is also used this way.


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Thank you very much for the explanation.

So "bubble" and "dimple" both mean a brief, special period of time across the billions of years of the universe!

Bubble is easily perishable, and dimple (=meaning "ripple/wavelet" here) is also just a wave compared to the sea of time. He is saying that the time during which they are stuck in the elevator is like a bubble, and a dimple in terms of time.

And I also learned that "ripple in time" is used in the same way! Probably "ripple" would have this meaning:


a. Something abstract that is held to resemble a ripple or ripples in form or movement, esp. in spreading outwards from a source or across its object; (also in plural) the mildly unsettling effects of some event (cf. to make waves at wave n. 3d).

I sincerely appreciate your help. Emotion: smile