The city lights looked promising. Like on every day. They were quite ordinary when up close, each light serving a purpose. But here, from my balcony, 36 stories up – no matter whether they lighted a bustling street, or a window that projected the melancholy of urban lives, or even the moving searchlights atop the mall that hopefully combed for something that the night held – they were all beautifully arranged, though random. It looked balanced, always, like crafted with intent. From up here, of course. I loved being here, up high. It was incredible what elevation did to how you see the world. It was a whole new world, literally.
I imagined how it would be for an astronaut, up there in the International Space Station, watching the Earth. That will be too much, I deduced immediately. The city lights wouldn’t be seen. And the city lights was everything.
What a waste, I empathised with the astronaut, my eyes now following the traffic below, which looked like disciplined fireflies, sans the twinkle.
It was then I realised that I had held the pen’s nib onto the paper for too long. The period that marked the end of today’s lines was now pudgy; the ink had happily seeped into the paper.
Another Today was another good day. For another somebody, I hope. Another day for me, though. Now another night, pampered by the light
I lifted the paper and read it again, like custom, with the backdrop of the city, and opened my palm. It took a prolonged second before the wind tugged it along, like custom. I followed its course, wondering if the chance-reader would be bothered by the obese punctuation. Or perhaps like the many or all before, this one too will end up swirling into an unseen corner of the urban jungle.
And almost immediately, tonight’s edition took a twirl towards the building, becoming out of sight beneath the concrete; if flew down the deck of my balcony. Lost.
Perhaps it was that obese period which weighed it down and strayed the paper away from the city’s immensely large heart, I thought, leaning onto the parapet.
A minute passed.
Then I heard a voice.
“Hey!” a womanly voice pervaded by the whizzing of the wind, awoke me from my trance. I looked behind me. Then outside, instinctively. And then, for the first time ever, I stretched out to the night and looked straight down from my balcony.
The hanging plants below my deck was warmly lit from a source I could not see. But that by itself made the balcony livelier than mine; mine was bare and dull, with me in it. To add on to the distinction, the 35th floor balcony had a face, now looking up at me. Her lank hair was flowing in the night’s (now-)melodious wind, and it blurred the entire city for me. And her face! My first thought was that of the moon. Simple. Captivating. I didn’t look up to the sky, for the real moon – I was not that dramatic. Not yet. But I did think of the astronaut then, who may have, at some point of time, looked down from the space station’s window and saw the moon below him. The elation would have been similar.
Her eyes were lean, the brows thicker – maybe it was because she was straining to look up. Maybe that was making her smile too. Maybe.
She held out the paper that I had pronounced lost, the one with the obese full-stop. And now her eyebrows were arching, her thin lips parted and she asked, with the wind forcing a serious expression on her face, “Did you write this?”
I nodded; a smile surely must have surfaced on my face.
She acknowledged with multiple nods, cheeks widening, lips tightening. My eyes were glued. She glanced at the paper and then looked up again. And she smiled, this time with intent, undoubtedly.
The city lights remained blurred, beyond her.
This was instant inspiration, when I saw the below illustration by Pascal Campion Art,
It had stories. Many. I attempted merely one. Do follow this amazing artist.