Aaron struggled to get his bearings. The sun had risen—from the hill it was a deep, burning orange dot obscured by dark and distant clouds; sharp, black clouds. He hadn’t seen the sunrise for many years—as an eighteen year-old he would arrive at work fifteen minutes early, take the elevator to the highest floor then leg the next couple of stories to stand in the bare, glassless concrete crow’s nest—the unfinished penthouse. He would do his yoga up there, when he did yoga, and weep at the enormity and profundity of the city—in those days when he wept about things. Thinking back he didn’t know how much of him was his girlfriend. She had changed him in several ways from his early teenage personality—she had sculpted something out of him that she admired, or he thought she admired. But it was a thing worth getting emotional about anyway, even if he cringed now—the city as he remembered it seemed like something divine—like a divine statement or phenomena. It was staggering when considered in contrast with the nothing of our origins; with the nothing of those raw materials considered gross; compartmentalised, and when considered aside from the fact of its having being established brick by brick, pane by pane, girder by girder over many years, or perhaps in the end because of that—that painstakingness and tortuousness of realisation; in many times and in many ways, by many, many people. It was at once so beyond one’s grasp as to be a matter of miracles, but also a sad and deep and painful elegy for the men and women who had gone before the city, who had thought it up and built it brick by brick, and had died. Aaron created nothing, now, and he knew that. He was no longer a star on the flag, or a stripe—he was a drunkard, and a mourner for the dead.
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