Not From Here
Rain stings my face, tiny pinpricks in the swirling wind. My elbows press tight against my side, my lower arms at right angles, tense, hands outstretched. The wind whips through my hair, and I dare not lift my hand any further to brush it away, so it remains stuck to my cold, wet cheek.
I open my eyes and squint at the panorama.
The city spreads before me, grey and distant. The tall buildings, the banks and offices, rise, as rigid as my body, towering over the streets and its inhabitants. Smoke coils from the government buildings, huge billowing clouds of soot and ash, and my lip curls.
I yearn for the rolling hills of green and a clear cerulean sky as I stare at the city below. I don’t belong here.
My toes claw inside my trainers and my arms shoot out from my side as a vicious gust of wind whistles past. I lick my lips and close my eyes. My heart races, my eyelid twitches, and my chest constricts. My mouth is dry and I can barely breathe. My frame sways and my leg muscles stiffen, my feet desperate to grip and I almost lose my balance.
I open my eyes. The undulating meadows of my childhood are as lost as this city and I would no longer belong there either.
My fingers stretch out as sirens permeate my fractured psyche. I stare at the cars moving aside in slow columns as fire-engines snake through the narrow streets, and people, strangers, swarm like ants, and I let my tears fall as biting as the rain on my face.
The wind picks up again and I lurch, my heart in my mouth. Sweat oozes beneath my thin shirt and I shiver.
Beneath me, chains clang against metal, the sound vibrating up the steel, tickling my feet through the rubber soles of my shoes. I want to fling back my head and scream, let my howl echo across the flat overcast skies. I don’t move.
The scream bubbles in my throat and dies upon the desert dryness of my tongue. I blink, no longer seeing the burning city below, but just a blur of tears and rain.
The girder rocks beneath my feet and my arms steady me as the wind shrieks its rage winding round my legs. The hook shakes under my feet and the jib arm sways. I teeter.
My mind reels and my heart sinks slowly to the pit of my belly. I let a smile curve on my lips and now, light-headed, I lift my arms, embracing the city as flames lick the horizon behind the business quarter.
I welcome this final moment, a moment of belonging, and then the gale that feeds the flames below whips my legs from beneath me and I fall. Maybe, this time, I’ll end up where I belong…