Watching Eternity from the Fire Escape

From our fire escape, we look down on College. Girls on blankets watch boys with disks and everyone is smiling. Couples and uncouples pass by with just enough distance to not look suspicious. Mediocre meals are made better by a choice of friends. I’m itching always to check if someone is watching because around here, there are no strangers and always there are impressions. Not judgment always, but always impressions. Different versions of the same music float through windows and blend with familiar conversations. There are roommates that enjoy each other’s company and walk around naked in the morning, forgetting the goodbyes that happen around here. The lawn has forgotten the snow that once drowned its white chairs, and for now it welcomes everyone into the afternoon mix of sun and shadow. Even if the buildings block the view of the sunset, the top windows glow orange with what we’re missing, and you remember that days still pass and the earth is still older than we are.

But today the world lasts forever and we’re always going to be the perfect age. Our faces seep with golden beauty we don’t recognize and our limbs tell us to hop onto bicycles and sit cross-legged in the dirt. We shield our eyes in the blaze of reality, unable to believe that this heaven is what will get us our real jobs. Here, an investment banker tightens up the slackline. There, Greenville’s ninth grade honors english teacher leans over to the head of sales and pulls up the Facebook page of the guy she hooked up with last night. Peter’s dad buys weed off of Ian’s uncle. The lady who hands out the best candies on Halloweens heckles William’s boss about the hicky she can spot all the way from her second story window. The graphic designer just noticed that her fly is down and casually fixes it while giggling about a joke. Three very powerful men bitch about morning lift just loud enough for three highly driven women to overhear and maybe turn their blond heads around. A lawyer highlights the key phrases in his first reading of the year, the only reading of the year with such careful highlights.

As the plumber lets go off the frisbee and the real estate attorney runs to catch it, the looming pressures of parenthood and rent and next week’s laundry shrivel up in the grass and watch dirty bare feet run by fast.

And ignorantly we slide into fall without noticing the growing shadows. With the backdrop of Worldly Knowledge, we fill our heads with wonderings about why he hasn’t texted back yet and why the dining hall never serves gnocchi anymore.

Before we find an answer, the sound of the shuttle echoes across the lawn, so we climb back in the window, grab our keys, sling a backpack over our shoulder, and dash out the door.


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