Simple Truths (March 2020, Week 1 Day 5)
The sun is up, the earth is down, and towns stretch left and right. These simple truths are all you need to make it through the night.
The verse was the last thing Carla saw each night as she closed up the museum. It was etched into the wall just to the right of the alarm system’s keypad. The stark contrast between the ancient ornate stone wall and the modern plastic case had drawn her eye well before she noticed the words.
Carla cared for the museum as if it were her own. She had taken notes about each room when they toured her around during her interview, impressing the board with her attention to detail. No one on the hiring committee had a negative thing to say about her and she rose to the top of the candidate pool. Her references were glowing and her salary request was reasonable. She started two weeks to the day after they’d made her an offer.
That was twenty-five years ago. For the last quarter of a century, Carla had worked six days a week following the same schedule. She liked routines and order. She liked to plan out her days and see them unfold just the way she’d anticipated. She liked being predictable.
As she turned off the last of the lights and stood in front of the alarm system doing her nightly mental recap of the steps necessary to secure the building for the evening she let her hand rest on the verse. Not for the first time, Carla reflected on the words, who might have carved them, and why. She had solved all the other mysteries of the museum – only this one remained.
“It’s you or me, Verse. I’m not throwing in the towel til I figure you out.”
Carla looked back at the dark museum, now lit only by the sparsely placed emergency lights hugging the floorboards, and called out “goodnight” to the security guard she knew was there even if she couldn’t see him.
She set the alarm to “home” and, as always, chuckled. “It feels like home but I need to put my tired feet somewhere.”
Adjusting her purse on her shoulder, Carla pulled open the front door and stepped outside.
Nothing was right.
Beneath her feet was the sky, not the hand-carved concrete steps that lead down to the street. Pure sky – bright and blue and dotted by puffy white clouds. Carla blinked, shook her head, rubbed her eyes, and looked again. She was, however wrong and impossible, standing on the sky.
“Get it together, Carla,” she muttered to herself. “You have had a long day and your eyes are telling tales.” She took a deep breath and stepped forward as if the sky beneath her was the concrete she knew should have been waiting for her.
It wasn’t waiting for her. Instead of walking down the predictable flight of steps that had been there to receive her every day of her twenty-five years at the museum, Carla found herself floating.