Up High

I’m up high. I’m cooking rhubarb compote as I look out on the bluffs of the Mississippi river. I wonder who in those apartments across the street can see me. And are they wondering the same thing? I can’t see anyone. Just hints of a life inside – a curtain, a sofa, a plant.

I can hear the birds outside, their echoes reverberate off the streets and buildings. At eye level the soft, blue sky meets the bluffs and I wonder to what degree does this view, this up-in-the-airness affect my disposition. It is something else to live up high. To know that there are lives being lived below your feet. To watch the people of the city walk their dogs, wait for the bus, shout at each other, help each other, stumble home drunkenly, crash into each other, pay parking meters, push their babies in strollers, talk to themselves, hold hands with their lover, wait for the light to turn green, look up at the sky.

I play this game where I lay in bed, close my eyes and pretend the sound of whizzing cars are waves. Some days work better than others, as if some being was orchestrating the cars to mimic perfectly the rhythm of waves. Some days it just sounds like honking and sputtering and diesel emissions. A reality.

But reality is a fungible thing up here. Distance allows for interpretation, invention even. Up here there are scenes.


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