My hiding place at work was on the top floor, where I could watch the sun rise in winter, late on the eastern horizon. A spray of gold fingers through the rooftops that became familiar to me as the contours of a face. I’d watch kites angle their silent way, dark and wild-eyed, past the blue-tinted windows; see the pigeons hangnail in the air, little V’s of feathery praise. My eyes would narrow to that wild-barred light, to the pastel sky, to the thrill of knowing I was alone. Alone and high up, away with the birds and the clouds, racing the dawn and the day and the dusk, to earth.
The top floor was once the retreat of all personnel, a leisure-pleasure area, stretching across a long floor of thin carpet and wide windows. White walls, blue glass, and a beautiful snooker table at one end, antiquated and quietly beautiful on its smooth Queen Anne legs, all lustrous with gold rivulets through the wood. A bar stood against one wall, shuttered down and tacky with forgotten spillages, nuggets of ancient gum. The smell of stale hops flowed through the lattice, where the shadowy pumps stood silent as trolls caught in the dawn light.
When the fire doors were pulled to, at the only accessible entrance, all sound from below was cut off. I always left the lights off. Air moved slow and thick with dust, as it will in underground caverns, or in the dark-silt weave of a lake’s full heart.
I would sit in a long side-office, empty but for the round table near its centre, below the wide-eye windows. I took my notepad for writing, a coffee with a black soul. Overhead, the slow unfurling of white and grey clouds made light and shadow-shifts across the carpet; pockets of blue sky would appear now and then, the purest iris. On the horizon, green hills and woodland made an ebb-tide of tomorrows and could-be’s.
That endless line, beckoning, offering more than it’s got to give. I could keep chasing it forever, as I’ve chased much through my life that wasn’t meant to be, though I held true to them, in the way all hopeless romantics weave a token ribbon through their hair. I’ll probably never find what I’m looking for, listening to Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne and wandering the old highways of the mind, with dust in my eyes and an eyrie heart.
Sounds of traffic made a harlequin coat of the mind; the ping of lights, yammer of voices, all skirling up from the street below, on a wind that seeped through the badly-fitted windows. It stirred the blinds, giving them semblance of life. There are rumours of a ghost haunting the top floor, the spirit-trap of a DI who died of a heart-attack. Or so one of the guys told me. I told him where he could stick that; but still, whenever I was up there, I’d often catch sight of something from sinistree or dextree. And it wasn’t my hair.
Hm. Things are often not quite what they seem. But as I told a friend recently, what we see in dreams is often what we missed while awake. I prefer to look on both sides of the glass
(just to make sure I’m not missing out.)
Fantasy. Reality. Blurred lines, and shadows moving over the floor.
Never wanting to cause a scene.
My eyrie heart, lost in dreams.