A woman I know polishes and dusts and wipes clean office desks in the city at night. She is responsible for three stories of garbage emptying, toilet cleaning and floor shining. She is experienced, she works quickly and finishes early so she can do her favourite thing – sit with a cup of coffee and look out the night-clad windows.
You can see everything from the 35th floor. I know. I went in one night and thought I was on top of the world. You can see everything and more.
The streets are matte black. Lights come from all sorts of sources – buildings, cars, neon signs. Shadows are cast, orbs caught in the dark, bounce.
The woman who cleans tells me that from the 35th floor she sees people who are not really people walking the city streets. Soundlessly. The woman who cleans tells me the ones she sees walking the city streets at three in the morning aren’t people at all – they are ghosts.
Smoky ribbon trails flare from their feet. They are not directionless but they are unhurried. Streetlights flicker as they pass and buildings fall in and out of focus.
The woman who cleans sometimes think being so high and looking down on a familiar scene alters perspective, allows the mind to be a trickster. Yet even at ground level, out of corners of eyes, people who once were walk.
Who would’ve thought that there are as many people who used to be walking at night as those people who still are during the day. Are they memories or leftover contemplations?
The womans who cleans watches through freshly unsmeared glass as the hours turn black and white like old movies. Every night the people walk – crowded under the moonlight – and I have that dream again – of ghosts in the city.