People on the Roof

I never know how long I have been sleeping, when I awake, when I hear them up there. People on my roof. I hear their shoes, their muffled voices. Even children will scramble across its surface sometimes. What are they saying? Sometimes I think I hear one of them weeping. Why would you climb up onto a roof and then weep over someone sleeping peacefully below? What sort of person would do that? I don’t even open my eyes. I just listen to them up there. Walking around. Don’t they realize they are in a state of danger? Anything could happen. A simple misstep could lead to a headlong tumble, and that would be that. But they don’t seem mindful of the danger. They sound calm as acrobats balanced on a high wire. It’s as though they don’t even sense the height at which they are walking, balancing.

Sometimes they stay up there a long time. At least the one does, the solitary one, the one who comes alone. He is the one who stays the longest. I’m sure that one cries. Every time, he sobs. I hear him, even if it is muffled. But, in the end, even he leaves. (How much communion can one have with another through a roof?) He comes less and less now. I can’t tell you how long it has been since the last visit. It always ends the same way, with the sound of his shoes quashing gravel, then the car door opening. Then a beeping sound that lasts until the car door closes. The sound of the car driving off. Quiet follows. A forgetful and forgiving silence restores itself to my roof. What do I hear then? Only the wind on its personal travels, a peaceful sound. And I sleep once more.