A Roof in the Sky

Nathan Wykes


Sydney stepped into that old bed of rocks for the thousandth time it seemed. However, this time instead of heading straight towards her escape tree she felt the need to stop. The groups of stones she was standing on softly grinded against each other under her weight. Instead of that annoying tapping noise they usually made as she dashed across them, now they were just scraping as they settled. After a few seconds no noise at all. Sydney bent down and plucked one up and dropped it neatly into her pocket. It just dropped to the bottom, and she didn’t have to stuff it with her fingers. She liked that.

Before waiting much longer she bounded through the tall grass to her tree and soon she was up on that roof. The roof was Sydney’s different plane of existence. It wasn’t a roof to her; it was her first step towards the sky. But for now, she was just sitting on a roof. She had yet to begin her limitless journey through her own conscience. She rubbed at the scratches on her forearms and brushed the bark particles off her shirt and out of her hair. She hated that escape tree sometimes. She hated it right now. “Why can’t you just let me up here without beating me up?” She wondered. Of course she knew that if it wasn’t for this tree she couldn’t get up here. Hundreds of yards away from the next nearest method, it really was her only option. Indeed it was a love and hate situation with the escape tree for Sydney.

The rock. That rock in her pocket. She scooped it out and set it down in front of her. She sat, cross-legged, cross-armed staring at it. It was for the most part smooth. It was brown and heavy enough for a good throw. It was like a rock from the beach but not as flat. It was closer to a sphere with bulbous protrusions here and there. A good sized chip on one end gave it character. The edges of the chip were smoothed as well, as if this chip had happened a long time ago. Sydney didn’t know about rocks. She didn’t know what kind it was, or how it formed, or where it came from but what she did know is that it was not like a rock you just find it nature. She hadn’t dug it up, or pulled it from something. It wasn’t dirty looking, and there weren’t really any marks on it anywhere. Yet, it was still so imperfect. Perfect were stones from the beach. Unique were stones from underground. This rock was neither. It was from a rock bed; a flat, stupid, manmade rock bed. Sydney had begun her travels.

She laid down with her knees in the air and the sky above her. She slid the rock back into her pocket for now. Up here Sydney was in fact singular. Unlike down on the ground she was now on a roof. A plane of existence different from the messy complex plane of the ground. Everything was down there and it was all mixed together. Categorized, blended, bounded, gradient, tangled, jumbled, dirty, thick, and all together. The roof on the other hand, was a clean view of the sky. It was blue with white clouds. Simple, it all made sense. There is the sky, and the clouds. Nothing else. Maybe birds, maybe bugs, maybe sunshine, maybe something totally random, but for Sydney it was clean and she could for once think to herself that she completely understood what she was looking at.

Sydney felt like falling into the sky one day. Or maybe not even falling but going up instead of down. She wanted to go up without getting scratches. The roof was one step to going up there. It held her up constantly fighting the gravity that wanted to pull her down. She loved how the roof always won the fight. That’s why she laid there, and that’s why she loved it there. If Sydney could choose to be on something anywhere she wished it was shingle. “I wish I had a shingle bed.” She breathed to herself as she gently scratched her cheek with the roughness of the shingle. It wouldn’t be the same though, beds are not roofs, and therefore offer no step into the sky.

She cupped the rock. “What am I right now?” She pondered. “Well, I’m a girl with a rock in my pocket.” Of course she thought about that sentence for awhile. She analyzed each part. To say “I’m or I am” is to acknowledge one’s own existence. “A” this implies single, or one. “Girl” that means I was born a female and fit the expectations of societies understanding of gender. I express feminine characteristics while being sexually female. That means girl. “With” in companionship, or togetherness. “A” this implies single, or one. “Rock” a piece of concentrated minerals. Solid in a natural state. A rock usually means its small enough to be carried, in contrast with a boulder, or other large piece of concentrated mineral. “In” Inside, or within, this implies one object enveloping another. “My” meaning it belongs to the owner, who in this case is me, another acknowledgement of self. “Pocket” or descriptive of a small area good for holding things or enveloping things. In this case “my” and “pocket” together would imply a deep fold in clothing in which to store things. She put this all together to form a new complex, and unnecessary sentence. “I acknowledge my own existence as being singular and a feminine female in companionship with a singular piece of concentrated mineral enveloped by the clothing pocket that belongs to my own existence.” She cupped the rock in her palm again. “Way too complicated for the roof” She thought.

Sydney rolled onto her stomach and put her chin on the edge of the roof, and for the first time she looked down. She pulled out the rock. She put the rock under her nose. It smelled dusty. She asked herself “Why did I even bring this with me?” But suddenly she realized that this rock that she brought was more than just a rock now. It was with her on the roof. Separated from the others, individualized, given character, and kept in a pocket, this rock was now special. It was a “he” she thought. This rock was male. Masculine? Yes, to her it was. She would call it Brady. She didn’t know why really, but she felt lonely up there. Looking down changes things.

Brady was about to fall off the roof. Sydney’s eyes widened and she pincered Brady between her thumb and index finger carefully and placed him by her side. “How silly,” She thought after awhile, “being concerned for a rock!”

The rock wasn’t Brady, the rock was from down there; from ground. She slid the rock off the side of the roof with the backs of her fingers. She heard it clink amongst the others. She laid down on her side, her head pointed toward the horizon.

Hours passed and yet she laid there.

A tear fell from her eye and hit the roof. She looked down for the rock but the rock was amongst them again. She couldn’t find it with all the others. She gently tapered her fingers down the marks on her forearms because they still burned slightly.

She rolled on her back and before too long, she fell.


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