My neck is cramping, yet I cannot tear my eyes from the sky. I am quite aware that I look silly; the tourist with a far too big suitcase and a tacky t-shirt, neck leaned back and staring upwards with my mouth agape, inviting pigeons to move in. I walk, relying only on the sounds of constant traffic to my left to inform me of where the road is.
I mutter an excuse when I walk into an old lady that is really a mailbox, take a step to the side and continue staring upwards, at that small slice of grey sky visible between the far-too-tall buildings that line the sides of the road. I have never been in a city with buildings taller than five stories, and even those seemed to be far too far off the ground for my tastes. Just one of these buildings is a city in itself, with cafeterias and even markets on odd floors!
I follow the buildings, follow the streets, with a cramp in my neck and realize that, by now, I must have gone around the same block of buildings six or seven times. It is not the buildings themselves I recognize – they are just tall and gray; built from metal and glass and concrete – but the signs that I have read as I passed. They are huge, and lit, and placed high enough to be seen even above the many people that walk the streets – though none of them seem aware of the man-made wonders they pass every day.
I stop my inane wandering, and return my eyes to the street before me – feeling the crick of my neck protesting, and oddly enough feeling as if everything down here is so very tiny; dwarfed as they are by the buildings. I look around at the people that pass me, their eyes fixed on the ground or a point in the distance, without seemingly noticing anything around them but their destination.
Again, I look up, and find a little girl leaning out of a window above me – fifty, sixty feet in the air, perhaps. She is fearless, leaning out to look upon the street below. I smile cautiously and wave at her. She returns my wave, though I cannot see if she is smiling. I notice more people in the windows, now. Looking down on the busy street, as if they are watching an anthill.
I smile at the people looking down at me from their mountainous homes, and roll my suitcase over the pavement with small jumps and jerks as it passes holes and broken tiles. Though my home is flat, I know that I will never forget the sight of the tall buildings, blocking all but the midday sun’s light, and demonstrating just how great human engineering can be.
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