She remembered watching the girl falling, from the top of the skyscraper, to the ground in the center of the plaza. The building was fifty-six stories tall; in the city, however, there were many buildings just as tall, if not taller, right around it. It wasn’t a particularly remarkable building in any case. The only reason she noticed it was it’s next to the building she was in.
Her building had sixty-two stories. She was on the fifty-first floor. For no particular reason, at that moment, she decided to look up from her desk, and out the windows, just for a second. Had she looked out a second earlier, or a second later, or not looked out at all, she would have never seen anything, or known anything had happened. She would have kept working at her desk, gone about her day, then taken the same subway route home, cooked dinner, watched television, and then gone to bed, like every other day. She would have never recalled looking up, and out the windows, a meaningless, trifling gesture, a little act, spanning no more than half a second of her consciousness, amidst the hundreds of thousands of seconds filling up her day, much less recall what she had seen, or not seen, in that fraction of a moment.
But, for whatever reason, just then, she looked out.
It was just a tiny, thin black figure, bent somewhat into a V-shape, with a wisp of long black hair floating upward, falling, along the side of the building. Silent. Her windows were soundproof. She just watched the girl, falling, from the top of the skyscraper, to the ground, in the center of the plaza. Fifty-six stories. Outside the large floor-length glass panes. She could hear only the air conditioning, quietly blowing.
On the ground, the figure became merely a point, almost invisible. She couldn’t see any blood, any bits or fragments, nothing. No sound. From above, everything appeared extremely clean and neat. Then, slowly and gradually, she saw more points begin to appear and gather around the first, stationary point. She still couldn’t hear anything, or make out what was happening. Just points and trajectories.
That night, she told her husband what she had seen.
Her husband was writing on the computer while she talked. She wasn’t sure whether he was listening or had heard a word she said. He was typing away loudly on the keyboard, and silent. She knew, that was his way of asking her to leave the room, while he worked.
She closed the door behind her. He didn’t looked up.
She’d known about the affair for quite sometime already. A student in his class.
She pushed the door open now.
A strong wind hit her face. She put her hand on her slightly protruding belly, and looked up at the sky.
When she passed his window, would he look up and see her?
HC Hsu was born in Taipei. His writings and translations have appeared in PRISM International, Two Lines, Words Without Borders, Renditions, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Big Bridge, Pif Magazine, nthposition, Memoir, Liternational, 100 Word Story, Horrotica, Romance Flash, Flash Fiction World, and Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, among others. He is currently completing a commissioned translation of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Liu Xiaobo’s authorized biography. He is a philosophy postdoctoral fellow at the Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien, Switzerland.
- Winter, A Piece of Flash Fiction (rachelmdaniels.wordpress.com)