The View from Top (a short story)


A shimmering glimmer of glass signalled the existense of a floor higher than the eye could fathom in the tall building that towered above the frail, pale boy.

He blinked in awe, and gulped thirstily as the scorching sun refused to relent in face of his agony.

Shen stood in the middle of the bustling town square, completely at loss and devoid of any clue as to exactly what had brought him here.

He dragged his feet upon the smooth grey surface of the flooring as stony, robotic men and women milled around him, with no time to spare a look towards the visibly heartbroken kid who stood staring wildly amidst them.

Shen finally gathered enough wits about him to move out of the way, and slowly approached the lifts that opened up instantly for him – as if promising to take him beyond all this faff, away from the hell hole that was his home, away from the people who made it that way.

The mirrored interiors threw back multiple reflections of himself, and this was more than Shen could take right now. He slithered down on the floor, with his face cradled amid his scrunched up knees.

The lift stopped with a sudden jerk. The boy opened his eyes to realize he had hit the spot where he really wanted to be.

It was the terrace garden of the 40 floors high building, and the world sure looked like a different place from up here.

Shen stepped out as the doors shut with a thick clunk behind him. He breathed in the cool, crisp air and sensed a tiny smile creeping up his mouth – the first in past whole year.

The view from top was magnificent indeed. It would be even more beautiful in the night, Shen thought to himself.

He stood leaning on the ledge – teetering delicately – trying to figure out exactly what his intentions were.

***

She hurriedly wrapped up her last order and rushed out of the Deli. The afternoon bus back home was a tough one to hop on, but the leisurely time it afforded her for herself was far too precious to be gambled upon.

Tia scurried past the shops that lined the street, coming out in the open square where the shopper’s paradise loomed alongside the tall skyscrapers that housed offices of some of the biggest money makers of the city.

A cursory glance upwards was all it took.

She had looked up to peer at the tallest building of the lot, like she did daily. It was a ritual – one that reminded her of the reasons she struggled in this dead-end job.

Something caught her eye.

Tia blinked hard and peered closely. It was a human being, precariously balanced on the outward ledge of the terrace railing.

She swallowed in terror on realizing what she had just seen. Quick and nimble always – Tia ran up the front stairs and huffed and puffed her way towards the main reception of the building. She lunged at the very pretty woman who sat in a picture perfect pose, with her manicured hands resting on her lap.

“There’s a man up there. And it looks like he is about to jump!”, Tia screamed.

Without waiting to hear the anguished cry of surprise that sprung from the receptionist’s mouth, Tia stormed into the lift.

How exactly did she intend to save him? She didn’t know. But Tia was sure she wasn’t giving up on trying atleast.

She had been there. She knew what this felt like. She knew how hard it must be for him.

***

A bead of sweat rolled down his brow, as Shen held on to the rails. “This is it!” he told himself. “Down there, therein lies my salvation, my freedom.”

A hand grabbed his wrist from behind, as he looked back in alarm.

An attractive woman, definitely older, with a slightly petite frame, dark hair and wide brown eyes stood staring at him.

She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out.

Tia tried again. “What the hell do you think you are doing??” she yelled.

Shen replied with an easy shrug, “what do you think??”. He was feeling like he hadn’t felt in ages. Cool, confident and calm.

“No! I cannot allow you to kill yourself”, Tia asserted.

“And who do you think you are to stop me??” he shot back.

“I am someone who has been here. I am someone who knows. I am someone who decided to back out and lived to thank myself for it.”

“But I am not you. I don’t know what to live for anymore,” whispered an agonized Shen, feeling like his old lost self again.

She held his hand, softly rubbing her fingertips across his palm. Her eyes sought his, as she desperately thought of ways to turn the clock back.

In a moment of pure abandon, and out of a lack of any arguments to convince the young boy against jumping off the building, Tia lurched forward and took his face in her hands.

She kissed him.

Softly.

A pristine, completely asexual kiss. One that was so full of tenderness and life that it jolted Shen out of his reverie like nothing else had so far.

A small shiver ran down Shen’s spine, not one of fear, but one of instant enlightenment. He looked at Tia in disbelief and then blinked as it came back to him…what he was just about to do.

Was he seriously about to snuff himself out at this young age just because those around him weren’t playing their parts to perfection? What about all the others who were lying in wait for him in the future? Waiting to dish out their lines…waiting to enact their little bit in his life.

Tia was one of them!

***

Suddenly he smiled.

A wide beaming smile full of realization as to what Life really was.

Nothing but a roller coaster ride, that was full of ups and downs. It had only two sides and nothing beyond, but a horde of tiny moments in between.

And it was some where in between these two extremes that Life existed in all its glory, in all its myriad colors, in all its complexity.

(Based on a true incident that played out some where in this world of ours)

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~ by eugenicist on August 24, 2011.

4 Responses to “The View from Top (a short story)”

  1. Awesome stuff… details you know 🙂

  2. very nice

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