BOXES IN THE SKY
‘All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.’
-Edgar Allan Poe
My complicated world exists in the minds of those that share this box in the sky.
The story is mine, and theirs, and connects us to those that share in it. Those that have crossed our path by pure chance, or not.
I sit here in peace, on the 9th floor after a long day, and absorb the skyline of a big city at night.
Breathtaking, mysterious, shocking, make believe.
Real people occupy the streets below, but they don’t look like real people, they resemble miniature figurines in a game I’m playing.
I want to pick them up and put them on top of that building, or in the middle of that bridge over there. Or they could go on the boat that chugs down the river, and chat to the other boat goers. They’d like that because other pretend people are having a party on that boat, and it looks like a hoot, from the 9th floor.
Who are they, these pretend people?
How can they possibly exist without me, the only real person in the night?
Who is that lady in the apartment across from me?
She is watering her plants on the balcony, they are thirsty. Her name is Joan, and she’s never been married. She’s worked for 40 years as a florist. She has a sister in Perth who she visits twice a year and a niece who plays the violin in the Melbourne symphony orchestra, but no other family. She’s stuck in her ways and doesn’t like change.
Movement inside another building catches my eye. It’s old mate.
He’s dressed in navy blue overalls and is vacuuming the carpets. All the white collars have left the building their day is done, but it’s the beginning of a long night of shift work for old mate. His wife waits at home in the house they have been renting for over 20 years. She will have his breakfast ready for him when he comes home. They have 2 cats, 2 dogs, and play bingo on Saturdays. He is the happiest man alive.
Their stories live in their minds, inside their box in the sky.
To them, I’m just another box of mystery. A random light that shines on the 9th floor adding to the Legoland wonder of the city skyline. An apparent building block with no purpose other than to appear beautiful in the night, yet on a cellular level, invisible to them, my box in the sky is comprised of an unrealised universe of multiple connections.
Look at that figure on the bike. It rolls along the footbridge ever so slowly, on a pointless mission that ends abruptly at the limit of my vision. He’s gone, just like that, but his name is Alexi.
He is 16 and has 5 older brothers and sisters. He just finished school and now has a holiday job in K-Mart, so that he can save some money to move out of home. He is starving and hopes his mother has saved him some dinner, but suddenly remembers he left his phone at work. He turns around and heads back in disappointment, knowing dinner will be long gone.
…but to him, I am just a box in the sky.
The tallest building in the sky is that one over there. It towers over the others using its physique to boast self importance.
“I am the biggest and the best”- It beams
…but if I reached out with my arms, I could snap off the top third and all would be different in Legoland.
“But I am still the biggest and the best” the building demands.
and we would all sit for hours debating why this was or wasn’t so….when the building knows, it is simply so, because it believes it to be true, and so it is.
Then there’s the man sitting in his leather clad $5000-00 swivel chair, all by himself, clasping a glass of scotch, his tie still perfectly centered, his black leather shoes shiny and stiff. He stares at all the other boxes in the sky, the multiple lights of life, and wishes he was any one of them. He just made another million dollar profit today but his ex-wife took the kids and moved to England. His Mercedes waits in an executive car space below, but he wants to drive home in a 10 year old yellow holden. Next week, he will give it all away and backpack around Africa for a year, his heart will return, and his smile will again frame his face.
To him, I am just another box in the sky, but one he wishes to be, because it’s greener, and it’s on the other side, and it’s not his box.
What is, of all of this?
A box is a box.
A person is a person.
Alexi is no different to old mate, who’s no different to me, who’s no different to the wealthy man in his fancy leather chair, who’s no different or any more or less special than Joan, who waters her plants.
It’s all just perception. How we see ourselves, in comparison to others and how they see themselves, in comparison to us.
Are we really that different from each other?
No. We are all just a story behind a box really aren’t we?
Each story unknown to the other. Each story full of self importance believing they’re the centre of the universe, yet each carrying the same weight, the same level of importance in maintaining the structure of the building.
Like building blocks clad with beautiful lights we all come together to create the world we know.
We are one. Difference is but a perception created by fear.