1,128 Feet

Updated: Apr 30

by Shelby Dolley - Maumee High School, Tenth Grade

Originally published in Springboard Teen Literary Journal's May 2018 print issue

Here I stand, one thousand, one hundred and twenty-eight feet up. A slim blade of glass between me and falling. I’ve never been a big fan of heights, but I’d been told that this was the best view of the city. An ocean of concrete and steel stretches as far as the eye can see. Skyscrapers standing out of the water like lighthouses in the darkness. The sway of the building makes the concrete below me quiver. The rock of the building makes me feel slightly nauseous. Focus on what’s in front of you, I tell myself. Or rather, below me.

Below there are shopkeepers making change, bakers baking cheesecake, office workers making Excel spreadsheets. Below me there are people with families, people with children, each with their own separate life in their hands.

The size of the city astonishes me. So many people experience different things all at the same time. Even the amount of thoughts in this single building is unfathomable. I feel so small, just a single modest fish in a sea of millions of others.

The cool wind whips up the side of the building. My hands reach forward to touch the frozen glass, but I hesitate. I do not want to feel the cold sheet that blankets me from death. It is not enough, a delicate sheet of glass, but it is all you receive in life. It is only a blanket to hide you from the horrors on the TV screen in front of you. My mind quickly ponders the possible catastrophes, but I continue to stare downward. In a world that can be so terrifying, you have to remain daring. So I take a deep breath and look. Just look.

I forget about the horror and feel something like a thrill. There is such beauty in the city below me; the small stars of streetlights poking out in the dark night, the glimmer of the water along the shore as the moonlight reaches its surface. All so dazzling. There is no noise of the city, only peace. It soothes me, and I feel a sea of harmony wash over me where the peace and chaos of what should be the city’s noise collide. All my troubles, small and big, are gone. I stand in tranquility, my mind soaking in the true beauty of the world as it is in this moment.

The clock strikes ten and I sigh. The building is closing for the night. I ask myself, do I really have to go back down? I could stay here forever. I think of my life that exists below me, and while I am disappointed to leave this peaceful view, I realize that peace exists in small bursts. I take my first step into the elevator, back down with a small feeling of despair. The controlled chaos of the city beckons. Back to the streets, I tell myself, the doors closing on my last glimpse of the cityscape, back to reality.


© 2020 Springboard Writing Lab