Everything Between


Call it what you want. I already explained this to the last guy: I didn’t see that, you know, whatever they’re calling it. I was stopped at the intersection – for way too long, I might add, because that light, with all that construction, is god-awful, go ahead write that down too – and I was focused on the road, not the sidewalk or the window. There was music on, my kids were screaming because the DVD player broke, and I dropped my phone under the seat; what else do you want me to say? Honestly, even if I saw it I probably wouldn’t have stopped or gotten out or anything. I already had to sit through three red lights.

Did you write down that the light is terrible? Because I really don’t have much else to say about it.


Imagine the sky, a gray sky, completely gray except for a few birds, black dots that create and destroy various shapes with the flapping of wings – a distant flurry – all on the pale backdrop, the grayest sky you’ve ever seen. Not the kind of cloudy thunderous gray that entices artists and front porch weathermen, but a flat solid gray, like a sheet, stretching as far as you can see: gray upon gray upon gray. And the sun is somewhere beneath it but you don’t know exactly where, you only know it’s there, as if it fell through a crack in the grayness and is searching desperately but can’t find a hole through which to resurface. Imagine that. And there, not too far off, there’s a figure, a dark silhouette falling. Now think about the people out on the streets, watching it from a distance, standing and looking up, losing their gaze in the sky, people who would rather watch and say wow look at that, or I wonder what’s going on there than actually concern themselves with it, with what’s at stake. There could be a hell of a lot at stake, but they’d never know.

Gray sky. Imagine that.


No, I didn’t hear anything unusual from next door, and yeah, I already know what happened. There, now you don’t have to explain it to me. You’re probably sick of explaining it anyway, am I right? I didn’t even know the guy. He just moved in. Plenty of other folks live here too, you asked any of them yet? Of course, I barely know them either. It’s hard to keep up, with people moving in and out so much. Hell, he just moved in last week, the guy you’re asking about. Kept to himself, mostly, like he just came here to, you know, do what he did. It’s crazy, man, what people will do. I’ve been here going on four years now and I’ll tell you what, I’ve never heard of anything like this happening, even with all the people that come through. Most of them probably won’t think another thing about it, go and move out next month, live somewhere else and wait for some other terrible thing to happen. That’s how life goes, I guess. I keep thinking though, what it must’ve been like down on the street when it happened. God, man, those people down there. Fourteenth floor too. That’s nothing to sneeze at. But hey, like I said, I didn’t hear any of it. 


When constructing a sidewalk, you must first build square, wooden forms. These forms will hold the wet concrete in place.  Set them where you want the sidewalk. Then fill each form with a layer of gravel. Compact and dampen said gravel in order to prevent shrinkage cracking. Make sure that the forms are level before pouring. Pour the concrete on top of the gravel and use a trowel to make sure it is evenly spread. After the concrete is spread, use a board to smooth the surface and remove the excess. While the concrete is still wet, go over the surface with a stiff-bristled broom to create a non-slip finish. Then, after it dries, apply an acrylic sealer using a paint roller. This will give the sidewalk a consistent finish and make it water-repellent. However, the sealer is not guaranteed to protect the concrete against impacts and stains from certain types of fluid.


All I know is that there were a lot of people gathered around, like a big group, staring up at something. I wasn’t about to go out of my way just so I could join the crowd. I thought it must have been something silly anyway, inconsequential – the things that draw people’s attention these days usually are. Of course if I would’ve known, I might’ve gone over there, but who can really be sure of anything these days, especially with so many distractions. And besides, there was a crowd. I have an aversion to crowds. Jockeying with people for position, breathing each other’s air, stepping on feet and tangling limbs, all for a better look at who-knows-what. And you might not even get close enough to see it, so in the end, you’re still unsure. I would’ve stopped, though, I’m sure, if someone would’ve told me what was going on. I would’ve stopped and looked, maybe from a distance, if only for a second.


…and I was calling out, right, like yelling – because I was pretty far away – and I can’t even remember what I was saying, but I could see him standing way up there and I was yelling louder than I can remember yelling in a long time – if you can tell, I’ve been pretty hoarse since then – but it doesn’t matter at all because I was too far away for him to hear, and it didn’t even seem to me like the people nearby could hear me but that’s probably because they were all too focused on him up there, but even so it made me feel like I wasn’t yelling at all, like I was in some sort of bubble, trapped with my voice and trying desperately to break out, not even so I could help anymore, but just so that people would turn their heads, acknowledge me yelling and, you know, notice me.


The acceleration of a falling object is 9.8 m/s/s, meaning that velocity increases by 9.8 meters per second every second. Gravity, its value stated as the letter “g.” One letter to express a series of events, a dizzying montage of flashbacks, births and loves and trials, temptations, honors, professions and conversations, epiphanies and revelations, knowledge and experience and deaths. All in one moment while everyone watches. And in that moment, amidst everything else, “g” is irrelevant. There is no 9.8 m/s/s, only floating in a soft pocket of air, weightlessness. The attention of the entire world, pulling you toward it, calling you, wanting you, has no meaning. In that moment there is nothing at all, nothing but air.


All of these sidewalks, each with distinct stains, colorful splotches of brown and black and red, each one tells a story. Over there, where the drain backed up and spewed sewage; and there, where stray fertilizer baked in the sun; and there, where a car ran up on the curb. How many people have walked here? How many have slept here on a cold night? How many raindrops landed here? How many tears? Most of the stains fade, or wash away after time. That one there, the new reddish one, might be there a while. But give it enough time. Most of them fade.


No, I didn’t know him. Please stop asking. I don’t want to talk about it. Yeah, I was there but, I mean, it was… stop, okay? My God, why would someone do that? And from that height too. I can’t deal with it right now. I need some time. It— it’s too much for me right now. Give me some time. I just…


There was a collective scream, a loud one; it pierced the air in my apartment, startled me, really. But by the time I got to the window, most everyone in the crowd was looking down, but a few had their heads back, their eyes up, like they were searching for something that would never appear.


Here in the place where the road narrows from three lanes to two and then from two lanes to one. Merging at rush hour. A chorus: engines, horns, voices, birds, creaks, and sobs. Today. This afternoon. The very afternoon – with the hidden sun and waning light of day– sinks into melancholy evening. Shouts and teardrops hang in the dusty air. Lights: headlights, and those from inside the shops; the flicker of a streetlight; the change from green to red. Everything is coming together, shifting, blurring, rushing by.

Look there. See it? There, on the ground. Tell me now: do you see it?