Impact Imminent

dar

  I was right in thinking they wouldn’t want to stop. We reach the foot of the tower at dusk, the purple sky casting an eerie glow on Toronto from above. I can’t help but remember coming here with my pop a long time ago, standing in a crowd of hundreds, all of us staring up into the infinite sky with aching necks, none of us wanting to miss it when it happened. The red speck falling to earth. Dar Robinson jumping from the top supported by a single cord that would slow him seconds before the ground, only days after their test with a dummy failed horribly. Messily.

  Kid me; the seven year old squirt that was holding his dads hand and watching with a grin as that guy plummeted down, losing to gravity for what seemed an eternity, he thought that’s bravery. Whilst the rest of the crowd bricked their pants for Dar’s sake, as his dad squeezed his hand in fear, he cheered and whooped. He thought of Dar Robinson as a hero. Present-day me, cynical me, thinks what an idiot. What a douche. A childhood idol erased thanks to twenty extra years of experience, painful, bitter experience that teaches you not to fuck with things that are bigger than you.

  Back to the barren future and the doors are open, and why wouldn’t they be, I think. Fate, it seems, has no problem allowing my downfall. My impact is imminent, and unlike Dar, I will not be slowed. We meander around the gargantuan lobby, ignoring the central lift as if it doesn’t exist. We’ve been in enough buildings by now to know that elevators, as a rule, are a no-go. The purple light is here too, casting the sterile whites with a lilac wash. The atmosphere is positively dream like, but I know that the nightmare started long ago. The only sound are our footsteps echoing distantly against the towering walls and the ceiling so high above us it hurts to look at. I walk unhurried to where I know the stairs are and the others follow obediently.

  Climbing the CN tower is one of those achievements you see on bucket lists the world over. Bucket lists that are now well and truly void. When I was thirteen my entire family went to try and conquer the 1776 steps. Not even half-way up my nine year old twin sisters started to cry and my mom told me to take them back down in the elevator. After a short argument I did so begrudgingly. I was so angry for having been denied the satisfaction of besting the challenge. I hated them for weeks. My indignation was so great that I eventually came back in a months time and attempted them again. I got to 1313 and threw up. My mom was called to pick me up. She didn’t scold me on the drive home. To this day I wonder why.

  I vowed I would come back and defeat them in the future but I never did. Life threw other hurdles at me and, for better or worse, I tackled those instead.

  For such an epic set of stairs they sure are a narrow and uninspired affair, I note, looking at the foot of them now as my thoughts swim in nostalgia. It’s strange, the journeys we take and their eventual destinations. A funny twist to be back here, confronted not only with my lies of radio competency but also the familiar enemy of the CN stairs.

  “I’ll wait with Sarah,” Scott says from behind me. I look back at the two of them and nod solemnly at Scott. Sarah looks peaceful, her eyes closed, her damp hair flat against her head, matted and thin. She looks a little more comfortable at least, now that we’re off the uneven ground. There’s no way we’re taking her cart up there. Katy Perry is by my side, enthusiasm emanating from her.

  “Ready, bud?” she asks with a grin. She’s pumped, I think, hopeful about the plan. Psyched now that we’re so close. “Never did this before it all went down,” she says, motioning towards the stairs before us, “Maybe I’ll grab a T-shirt when we reach the top.”

  “We’re only going as far as the radome,” I say, my limited research paying off already. I point to a tall illustration of the tower on the wall next to the stairs, jabbing at the donut shape that collars the building near the top, “That’s where the equipment is.”

  “Oh,” she exclaims, obviously disappointed we won’t be making it to the pinnacle.

  “We’ll be back tomorrow,” I say, turning to the others, “I don’t want to climb back down in the dark.”

  “Yeah, okay,” Scott says, “We’ll camp out here. You guys want some provisions?”

  “There should be some stuff in the Sky Pod restaurant up there,” I reply, pointing again at the picture, a little further up than before. I don’t want to carry any more than I have to. I grab the heavy pack of tools I’d procured and assembled during our travels from the base of the cart and swing it onto my back.

  “Okay,” I say, “let’s do this.”

  We start to climb.

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~ by Joseph Blame on September 18, 2010.

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