|The Seventh Ubiquitous Page.|
This page is almost about
I am a tiny wanderer.
From Nowhere to Nowhere I go
With Everything in between.
The glue, the glue!
Beauty can be terrible, it seems.
A lesson as painful as a Machine.
I became aware that I was awake.|
We of the Ceiling have a moment of awareness on the border between sleeping and waking that we have no name for. It allows us to wake up without any unwanted movements and prolongs our lives.
In this moment I knew through closed eyelids that I was in the presence of The Light. It glowed warm through the thin skin, golden upon my eyeballs.
I was stretched out quite luxuriously on what felt like the Floor. This alone was strange enough to make me afraid to open my eyes and admit to wakefulness.
My body was covered with something warm and soft, something that felt like one of the rags that the Box People use to clean their machines, only much thicker and larger. I thought that this was probably a Blanket, although I did not know since I had never felt one before.
Then I wondered who had put the Blanket on me, and I did not want to open my eyes more than ever.
But I am curious. Keeping my eyes closed is something I cannot do for long. I am always burning to Know.
I opened my eyes.
This is what I saw:
I was in the shadow of a large Machine, and bright light was everywhere else. The light was brighter than any I had ever seen, so bright that I was afraid of it and shrank against the Floor of the Roof and covered my eyes with the Blanket.
It was then that I heard a Voice.
It was a strong, loud Voice, like the voices of the Box People, but it was not angry and harsh. It made me nervous, but in a different way than the angry shouting of the Box People did.
The Voice said:
"Hey, are you going to sleep all day? I have to get back to work."
My flesh twitched just a little when I heard the Voice speak of Work, which is something that the Box People are always snarling about. But the Voice I heard did not sound angry. For a moment I did not know whether I should pretend to be asleep and continue to hide or not, but I am very brave.
I decided that I would shield my eyes directly from the Voice by looking at it through the camera. I put the camera up to my face and poked my head out from beneath the Blanket.
I opened my eyes again, and this is what I saw:
He sat in the Light, and the Light was upon him and all around him. He seemed at ease with it, although its brightness hurt my eyes, even from my place in the shadow of the Machine. He was wearing blue Shorts and large Boots, besides the dark glasses, and nothing else. I became aware that I had no Clothes, and for the first time, that thought made me uncomfortable.
"You're one of those people who live in the Ceiling," he said to me, smiling gently, because he could see that I was afraid of him.
I thought for a moment. Speak, or run away?
I had climbed to the top of my world, and had found this man waiting for me, bathed in the Light. He had not killed me, but had instead treated me with kindness.
I decided to speak.
"Yes," I said. I am the loudest and boldest of voice among my people, but my voice sounded very soft next to his.
"How do you know of us?" I asked him, "You are not a Box-Person." For I could see that this was true.
"I sleep here sometimes in the summer," he said to me, sweeping his arm around us at the vast Roof, "and I see and hear things at night through the dormer windows. I've been watching you." He smiled again, so that his words did not seem frightening to me.
"Did you send The Light into my home to call me up here?" I asked him, for it was this that I wanted to know most of all.
He looked surprised.
"So that's why you came up here." he said. "I was wondering. Yes, I guess I did let the sun in for a bit, didn't I?" He stood up, and held out his hand. "Come with me; I'll show you."
I was afraid. I clutched the Blanket tightly around me, and shivered. I wished to stay beneath the Blanket, out of The Light. I was afraid that The Light would burn me, or blind my eyes. I was afraid that the Sky, which was bright and blue, would swallow me up.
"I am afraid." I told him, which was not something that I had ever said to my own people. I did not look up at his dark glasses. "The Light will hurt me," I said.
"The Light will not hurt you," he said. "It will burn your skin if you stay out in it too long, but a little bit of it will do you good. Here; put these on."
He reached into a little bag that sat beside him, and pulled out a pair of dark glasses, much like the ones he wore. He held them out to me.
I took the glasses, and put them on. Then I dropped the blanket, and stood up. I felt his eyes sweep over me, and I felt a strange feeling knowing that his gaze was upon my body. I stood up as straight as I could, ignoring his gaze, for I am proud.
But my pride failed me when he turned away and walked off, and it was my turn to step out into the Light behind him. I stood near the Machine with my toes at the edge of the shadow. I could not make myself move. I looked down at that line of brightness, and I trembled. The heat of my shame was in my face, and the pounding noise of fear was the only sound that I could hear.
It was then that I looked around me for my can of Glue. I needed it to give me the strength to accomplish my heart's desire.
I saw it some distance away, beyond the line of Light, sideways and spilled upon the rubber Roof. Grief and horror overcame me, and I nearly sat down upon the Blanket.
What happened to me next I cannot explain. I grew angry then, angry at I knew not what. But I did not wish for the glue in that moment, and my anger moved my feet over the line as quickly as they have ever gone. They moved so fast that they brought me to his side before they noticed the great heat of the Roof.
When the heat of the Roof began to sear my feet, I leaped. It was the natural thing for me to do. I leaped upon a great steel pipe that my hands and feet soon discovered was hotter than the Roof. I leaped again, and landed upon him. He caught me in his arms, and as he turned around and began to carry me I hissed into his ear, "So the Light will not hurt me, will it?"
But he did not answer, he only smiled. He carried me back to the Blanket, and set me down upon it. He took the Boots off his feet, put them on mine, and laced them tight. Then he stood up and set off across the Roof the same way he had gone before.
One can bathe in the Handfountain to wash grime from the body.
What will wash it from the mind?