Rise and Fall

Her apartment was joined with two others by an exterior winding staircase made of triangular slabs of granite. At its final and fourth landing, a keyed entrance unlocked a rooftop terrace. It was an oasis that floated above the grime of eight million residents. The walls of its rectangular space exploded with succulents, purple orchids, yellow hibiscus and pink begonias. From that height, the private garden and shrines whispered a secret to those who could afford it. Straight above, there was nothing but clear blue sky and sounds that had escaped their own echo.

She visited the space every day. In the mornings, she danced and in the afternoons, she smoked cigarettes and drank sweaty beer. Sometimes, a neighbour would join her and the mounted oscillating fans above them would witness their slow conversation.

Throughout her four years as a tenant there, she painted every flower in every pot on the roof and then adorned the stairwell with their images. Later, she would host private art lessons, attracting tourists and expats to her views of heaven. Before she left, she conceived a child. Soon after, she left her paradise, forever.

Lindsay Erdman