5. There is a buzzing in her ears. It is coming from the sky, yet she cannot think what noise it might be. There are shapes moving down from the heavens, and for a moment she is afraid that the white stones are falling back to earth, becoming paper again and returning her to the place she escaped from. But they are moving too fast, too gracefully. Her vision becomes swamped by a host of what seems to be every bird she has ever seen, and many more. They swoop and circle, loop and dive, and below them there is a stretch of water reflecting with a thousand points of light every colour dancing above it. Other shapes dance below the surface, and she sees that for every bird in the sky, there is one below, and with every twist and turn of their intricate dance there are more, many more creatures joining in. The girl with red lips becomes so entranced, she no longer remembers anything that came before this. For her, this is the only place she wants to be.
“What comes after this?” I only half realise I have said it out loud. If this is it, if this place defines my existence and is in turn the indefinable it that we all spend our lives searching for, then I am at a loss to know what remains to be seen and experienced that I have not already seen and experienced a thousand times before, in a thousand repetitive ways. The thought that there might not be anything other than this makes me want to do forbidden things. It makes me want to release my wild, frothing self that I have repressed; to make paper planes from all of the official documents in this building and fly them out the window with little notes of encouragement attached. I think of all the good things we could do if we forgot about the rules we live by to create order and meaning amid mystery and chaos, and wonder if a little mysterious chaos is exactly what we need in order to live.
I find myself walking upwards in search of air; I am drawn to the roof-top. When I began here- when I was enthusiastic and full of ideas about improvement, communication and organisation, I would come up here in my lunch break and get my fill of the sky. And every time I went back inside, I would give the sky one last glance, a smile, to say I would be back tomorrow. There came the day when I didn’t: it was about the same time that my fiery enthusiasm became entirely doused by a cascade of silencing nonchalance. I realised that if I came up here every day, I wouldn’t want to ever go back.
The roof is empty today.