I smelled her before I heard her.
The smell of ozone, and freshly cut grass.
She stood quietly behind me, watching as I teetered along the edge of the rooftop, eyes squeezed shut, singing as gleefully and loudly as I was able;
“Singin’ Radiohead at the top of our lungs,
With the boom box blaring as … ”
I stopped, thought for a moment, then spun neatly on one foot to face her.
“Do you suppose”, I pondered aloud, “That p’raps I should be singing Radiohead at the top of my lungs, instead of singing at the top of my lungs about singing Radiohead at the top of my lungs?
It hardly makes much sense to sing about singing about something, when one may just as well sing it to begin with!”.
I nodded, satisfied, as I wobbled slightly on the narrow ledge. It was perfectly marvellous logic.
“Alice”, she said gently “It’s time to come down.”
“It’s alright”, I waved my hand around like a proud performer, “I shan’t fall off, its…at least somewhat partially safe”.
She looked at me reproachfully; “You know what I mean, Alice.”
I pouted. I knew exactly what she meant.
“I’m sure no one would mind if I stayed a little longer…”
“You’ve been up for over two weeks now”.
It sounded accusatory.
“Yes! Two glorious weeks up!”
I grinned. “It’s been simply wonderous”.
She frowned at me. “Alice. You know how this works.”
“Fine. It was getting boring anyhow”, I lied.
It was never boring.
I stepped down onto the roof as she held out her hands, coated in the blackest of black.
Blackness so dark it was more like an absence of light than a physical substance.
She looked at me with a strangely sad expression.
“Brace yourself Alice, I’m afraid this one is going to leave a mark.”
She leaned forward and put her hands inside my head…
Across the table, my mother looked up from her dinner plate.
“Did you say something, honey?