Thursday, August 11, 2005

Chapter 12: November 30, 2030

The November wind blew cold. The wind chimes in the window rang. The falling sun glittered in the glass and steel of Denver’s skyline. Looking East from the fifteenth story of Lily’s grandmother’s Sakura Square apartment, surprisingly little had changed since the day Lily was born. City lights peaked out through trees in residential neighborhoods. Red, yellow and white lights shone in little clusters as tiny car maneuvered city streets. If you looked just right, you could catch the image of the Remembrance Towers in some of the skyscrapers, but if you vision blurred a little, all you would see was the glow of the sun setting beneath the Rocky Mountains. Coors Field was silent, the regular baseball season was over, and the post-season was being contested in warmer climes.

Inside grandmother’s house, the only light came from candles and the odd indicator light attesting to the fact that some electric device was ready to obey any command directed its way. Grandmother had electric lights of course, but she always complained that they lacked the spirituality of flames. The candles were in blatant violation of the apartment fire control rules, but on a floor where everyone’s front door is triple locked and you are fifteen stories who would ever find out.

A bowl of steamed rice, drenched with hot water and adorned with long rectangular strips of boiled seaweed, accompanied by a small cup of hot, green tea sat, ignored, before Lily.

“It looks like you have something other than food on your mind, Lily.”, her grandmother observed.

“Yes.”, Lily admitted.

“Is it a man?”, her grandmother asked.

“Yes . . . no . . . I don’t know.”, Lily answered. “Yes, there is a man. No, strike that. There is more than one man I’m trying to make sense of. But, I’m also trying to figure out who I am. How can anyone want me when I don’t even felt like a grown up myself?”

“Hmmm.”, grandmother murmured. “Tell me about the men.”

“Well, there’s one man. He’s dashing and proud and he’s been dazzled by me since the first day he saw me do a sculpture at the governor’s mansion. He’s a military man. I think he’s an officer in the Navy. He’s trying to root out terrorists or something. He’s sent flowers to me at work, even before he knew my name.”

“Then, there’s this guy at the shop. He’s no Navy officer. He drives our delivery van to make money for college. He wants to be a firefighter. He fixes cars in his spare time. He’s always so sweet. And, he’s sure of himself too. Oh, the military man has purpose all right. But this man who drives our delivery van. He cares about everyone. He’s always helping a mother with a couple of kids lift her stroller over the curb, or helping neighborhood kids get their kites out of a tree, or whatever.”

“And, did a mention my boss? The way he looks at me sometimes, I just see bliss in his eyes. And, he is sweet. He never does anything blatant. He doesn’t want to abuse his authority, I guess. His only cares in life are to keep his business going and to make his patrons as satisfied with his catering as he possibly can, but everyone who knows him can see how desperately lonely he is. Every time a couple comes in to plan a wedding he starts to choke up a little. He has plenty of casual friends. But, every night he slinks off to his place in the Golden Triangle alone.”

“Hmmm.”, grandmother murmured. “Well, you will appreciate later in life how lucky you are to have choices in life. Eat up. Your food isn’t getting any warmer and you need some warmth in your belly on a day like today.”

Lily did as she was told. Afterwards she sat on the couch with her grandmother, where they took in the view and shared the silence. The next thing Lily knew, she was wrapped in a blanket on the couch, and the morning sun was in her eyes.

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