On top of 77 Water Street I stand next to a ghost, looking down at the East River.
The man next to me, smoking a pipe, squints into the rising sun.
The only time this sight is more beautiful is when you’re flying above the clouds.
We walk back from the edge of the building towards the rusted airplane.
Few people know this exists up here.
A runway, a rusted plane from World War I, and a ghost.
I like being able to see the river. It reminds me of…well, it reminds me of where I landed the last time. With the bullet ricocheting around inside me, I still managed to land the plane properly. But the clearest image is the way the sun reflected off of the river…it sparkled, the colour of a fine white wine.
His eyes drift away and he puffs on his pipe, deep in thought.
You can see a deep brown stain on the breast of his flight jacket. His medals still polished.
I don’t know why I come here. So far from home. I like to watch the world change. To look down on the busy streets…so much different from when I was alive. Look at them! They look so…free from up here.
He taps the embers from his pipe out with the side of his boot.
Slowly he leans up against the rusted shell of the airplane.
I’m a hero, did you know? Never much liked that thought when I was alive. Still don’t. I always preferred the quiet life. But, that’s how it goes. The best heroes are the reluctant ones.
The reluctant hero stretches his arms up towards the sky. A cloud passes in front of the sun and he disappears.
There’s a lingering smell of his pipe and the faintest sound of a Christmas carol.