I stand twenty stories high. My bare feet solidly planted on the edge of the glass building, toes curl over the edge gripping the sides firmly. Gently I lean my body forward observing the crowds below. From above they appear as chess pieces strategically moving throughout their day as I, from my perch, stand and watch. They are strangers from here, they have lives from here that move and flow like the water that creeps up the beach then recedes back down into the endless gallons that make up the oceans. The unknown who balance their daily lives to and from work, pick up kids from school or day care, driving to sporting events, getting into fights with their partners, hating their jobs, contemplating their lives, but still from a distance I safely watch without saying a word. Hearts ache in loss below and I can feel it, my shoulders curl in, chest throbbing in agony, while others walking through the crowds pass their true loves without recognition because they just don’t know yet. Is this what it feels like to be God? To know that two shoulders colliding into each other could change the course of lives and I have the greatest seat in the world to see it happen. To see a man and a woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman walking deeply together throughout the streets of their daily lives happily enjoying what I get to witness from hundreds of feet in the air. I raise my hand pretending to have the power of a deity gently brushing some to the side and others along to see if a simple nudge could alter what they know of their lives.
After standing there I grow tired of the lack of recognition in the idea that those below should stop and just look around to see what they are missing by having faces buried in phones or staring straight ahead or down to avoid a recognition. I step back from my ledge and turn to the left, there has to be another street I can observe from above. I walk patiently over the side; raise my right hip making the knee bend dragging my foot off the stable ground and up onto the ledge. Stepping up and inching toward another edge again my toes hang dangle from the side. With less caution I peer over the side but witness something I was not expecting, I know these people. All of them, I know their lives and their paths. They are walking along a familiar street heads on a swivel looking around. A young son quietly reads alone on a bench outside, while an older son walks hand in hand with a girl down the street laughing. A friend reaches out and picks up his step daughter with more love than I see most parents react to their biological children, then reach out with his hand to his step son and walk to get some ice cream. His wife turns around and passes him a smile that only they share and only they know what it means. An older man walks from the gym, looks around at the crowd and slides to the side to wait. He leans against the wall and carefully lifts his head. I turn my head slightly to the right and a lifelong friend answers his phone and speaks casually as he dodges the oncoming pedestrians, then he takes the phone down from his face and looks up. The family then pauses from the quest for ice cream and looks to the side of the tall building. The boy reading his book breaks for a moment from the thousand pages and follows his gaze skyward, and the son and his girlfriend stop arm in arm and turn to see what is standing so high above.
Instantly I feel the need to jerk back from the edge and clear myself from their minds, but I don’t. Selfishly I stand there for a moment and look back at all of them simultaneously. I crouch down slowly to my knees as their gazes follow and without thought or fear of consequence I leap. I cannot figure out why I leap but I do, from the edge of the building I feel the wind shooting up into my face. It is so hard to breath but like a swimmer I turn my head to the side gasp in a lung full of air and turn my face back towards all of them. Excitedly they all come together in a large group right about my landing spot and waive. The exhilaration of the plummet brings on endorphins that I have never felt before as floor after floor make their way into my past. My eyes pouring with tears from the air and dust stinging them but more than that the emotion of them all being right there. As I make it closer and closer I spread my hands out wide, arms stretched as far as they can go, I bring my feet beneath me. Incredibly I slow to a safe landing speed and touch down directly in the middle of them all. Handshakes and hugs, laughter and salutations, are what greet me. As we catch up, the moments absorb into my skin, my eyes take in all I can, when I feel a tug. Something is on my back. As I turn my head to see what is pulling me I jerk back up into the air, floor one, two, five, seven, ten pass my vision as they all get smaller and smaller. Twelve, fifteen, they look around trying to make sense of what has just happened, seventeen, eighteen they all start to separate from the group that was formed. Twenty, I see them walking and moving back in the directions they intended. Feet landing back on the edge of the building now the young son progresses with his book, older son walks along gazing at the girlfriend, families are eating ice cream, the friend answers his phone, and the man from the gym hops in his car. From above I begin to observe again, until the next time I can jump.
The past two weekends I have spent visiting friends and family. I have spent them being reached out to my concerned friends, while texting with others. It is nice to drop in once in a while, catch up, but the having to head back to the other state and continue on with my own life just leaves me wondering about them all. I observe through these messages, phone calls, and other technologies that allows me to feel like the four hours away that I am to all of them isn’t really that far, although how I feel after the driving will argue that point. These weekends allow me a glimpse, to what I miss and what I am missing. I fall into their lives for a day or two, then slingshot back to the life I have to maintain for now, hoping and praying I can find my way back then cut the cord and stay. During the time we spend together they comment on my loneliness and try hard to push me to find something new to bring on some joy that appears obviously lacking but they miss it, they miss that look in my eyes when I am there with them. With my boys, old friends, family, I am happy. I am glad to be around them and feel a sense of familiarity that I am unused to in the present act of this play. I am not sure how much I realized how happy they all made me until these past two weekends as I drove the four hours back from Massachusetts and Vermont to the apartment in Maine. I am not sure how happy they know it makes me to sit across from my son and his girlfriend while we share a meal and I get to know them as a couple or how much it meant that my youngest spent two plus hours desperately trying to fit in as much about the things he enjoys as we sit in the parking lot behind his mothers house. Or the words “Lets go Bud” and what they sound like when I am struggling with something or anything as they rattle around in my head. My oldest friend who has shared the toughest of times with both he and I have been on the phone with each other for countless hours talking each other up or calming each other down. My friend who wants so desperately to see that I take steps forward and find new things in life while he and I contemplate the meanings of what we have daily. And lastly a mother in law that I regretfully say that I took for granted for many years stuck in an insecure “they didn’t like me” attitude that sat there and cries with me while we talk for hours.
I am not sure I knew truly what I had until these past two weekends. I would like to think that I did, but maybe I am not sure that I knew what it meant to me. I cried as I drove though the White Mountains, taking the road to peaks of lower hills, stopping on occasion to take a photograph of the water as it melts from higher elevations, snow covered peaks creating a backdrop for a large old hotel, and the ice that forms on a cliffs edge. I want to be back there, with them, because that is what I want. I want to be around my boys to experience them, I want to see my friends, and I want to absorb all that it has to offer. Today I took that first step by reaching out on a job offer that could allow me back to what once was the place I found comfort and felt like myself, tomorrow and the next day, and each day after that I will place my focus on getting back to them and to me, because I see that it is what I want.