I looked out the window, and it was concrete and glass into the horizon. Like something out of a sci-fi dystopia, a city that shouldn’t be yet was, teeming with life and light. My eyes sought for green, something organic, and failed. There were rivers down there, somewhere, cutting large canyons through the dense urban sprawl, but they were invisible and made known only by the gaps they formed in the otherwise seamless grid of high rises.

It was my first time above street level since I’d arrived in the great city nearly half a decade gone. I couldn’t tell you why I’d never ventured higher. Perhaps it was the oppressive weight of the whole experience that had kept me grounded. Held down by the invisible hand of strangerhood. I’d known that feeling most of my life, having never felt quite at ease in any of my previous surroundings. To have come to the most alien place on the planet was only a small step sideways.

I turned my head up and looked into the sky. It was perfectly overcast, a sheer curtain of diffuse grey light that banished shadows and induced melancholy. It was a little disappointing to be greeted with the same color as the poured stone faces I’d stared into for all those years below, and the openness of it was almost overwhelming. I felt a sense of vertigo, a dizzying spin began to take hold like when lying in bed after too much drink, and I forced myself to look away.

The receptionist’s heels clicked on the hard flooring, announcing her approach. I tightened my grip on the handle of my cheap briefcase.

“Mister Hasegawa will see you now,” she said in a crisp, unaccented English. She turned away and led, and I followed.

2014.09.22 – 2023.05.18

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