The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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The volunteer EMS crew that my mom was part of had monthly repelling practices. One of the most common buildings they would repel from housed a nursing home. The residents would feed them through the window every time. Repelling is still one of my mom's favorite things to do.

Bob gave the rope a tug, the harness around Doreen tightening as he did.

“Alright, seems good to me,” Bob said, giving the rope, which was bound to a sturdy metal pipe on the edge of the roof, a few more tugs before giving Doreen a thumbs up.

Doreen gave a wide smile before stepping off the roof.

Her heart leaped as her feet left the concrete surface. Adrenaline coursed through her as she stared down. The streets below her seemed minuscule. The tiny cars looked like toys, held by unseen children. Her mind leaped to the memory of an old train set she would play with when she was younger. The memory was cut short, though, when her feet hit the side of the building, Bob controlling her descent from the roof.

A window below her creaked open. An elderly woman, hair tightly bound in pastel blue curlers, popped her head out.

“Hello dear!” The old woman shouted up to Doreen.

“Hello, Mrs. Millowicz!” Doreen said, kicking gently off the white facade. She glided down to the window.

“What kind of cream cheese today, dear?” Mrs. Millowicz asked, beaming.

“Plain, please,” Doreen said, grabbing onto the window ledge as a gust of wind attempted to swing her out of the frame. Mrs. Millowicz disappeared through the window.

“How are the boys?” Another woman with glasses the size of coke bottles asked.

“Way too big, “Doreen said, taking a plastic bag from Mrs. Millowicz when she returned.

“Would you like some coffee dear?” The curler clad woman asked.

“Um,” Doreen said, looking up toward the roof; a distance she would rather not ascend with a hot cup of coffee. “I think I’m okay.”

“Oh of course not, of course not. How silly of me. Now you tell Bob to get down here quickly, dear. I’ve already got his bagel in the toaster oven.

Doren smiled. “Yes ma’am. Thank you again. I’ll see you next month,” she said, clipping the plastic bag on a carabiner before tugging on the rope. She began to ascend, waving at the women as she did.


Breakfast On the Side of A High Rise

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