There was a bit too much drama at my building this afternoon. I was in the kitchen cooking asparagus from Costco that I had bought last week and had left in the fridge. I had just finished and joined my son in his room when I heard yelling. From outside. My son went to go look outside the kitchen window. We are on the ground floor. I joined him.
He said he saw the yelling guy and that he was in the front part of our building where the pool is. He described him to me, shirt color, man bun. I could not see him. My son got all worked up. Told me not to do anything. Not to go outside. Not to tell his dad. I told him that the yelling guy had nothing to do with him or with us. Soon a policewoman showed up. She was talking into her radio and looking up at the building. Many more police cars showed up. An ambulance. It soon became apparent that there was someone on the outside of our building on an upper floor. And it also became apparent that it was not the guy with the bun, since they had taken him to the ambulance. But there were still people gesturing up. At our building. The face of which I could not see.
Everyone who was outside just stopped. All the people on the sidewalks stopped. And looked up at my building. There was a woman diagonally across the street from my window under a tree. The policewoman asked someone I could not see what his name was and was told it. Another woman came out from the building, looked up at the face of it, called the man’s name and then physically shrank back. As if the situation had become more precarious. The woman under the tree had not moved at all.
A man showed up in the pool area of the building looking up and talking to the person up there. He was trying to get him to go back inside. That everything would be all right. It seemed like an eternity. The yelling guy was called back from the ambulance. He stood there looking up. They all stood there looking up. From my window, I could only see the reactions of the bystanders, the police and the people trying to save this person. And finally, he climbed back inside. He was told to swing his leg over so I can only imagine that he may have been sitting on the railing that the upper levels have outside of their sliding glass window. There is not a lanai but a small ledge, big enough for a potted plant, although all of these areas are supposed to be clear.
Then, applause. From the bystanders. And it was all over. I took my son to tutoring and when I came back the ambulance was parked in the back of our building, in front of my door. I chatted briefly with the guy who was with the ambulance. He said that it was a good outcome. And he was right.
I did not want to go outside when it was happening because I did not want to see. I did not want to see this person jump or even slip off (it started raining just as it all began). I did not want to see him dangling from the building. There was enough anxiety just watching the reactions of the bystanders and his loved ones. And I was not involved in any way.
We had been talking yesterday about our building’s façade. About how it is this weird anomaly of windows. I love it. At night, if tenants have not closed their curtains or blinds, the entire building becomes this microcosm of life. Small squares with different scenes playing out. My son said to me, when I took him to tutoring, that he was surprised that someone like that would be in our building. I told him that where you live tells nothing about who you are and we are all just people with the things we have in our lives going on. But I know that when I look at our building, with its views into everyone’s lives that I will not forget what happened today. Even though I did not see it. I will remember that the squares are not always filled with happiness. And it does not matter where you live. And I will be glad that today’s ending was not tragic.