When the pragmatic woman looked out over the city, she saw the faded tops of buildings and the long metallic skeletons of bridges, decades old, dull with age. She searched the horizon for something inspiring. Seeing nothing, she turned to him and shrugged her shoulders.

"It's a city," she said bluntly, impatiently, "it's grey, and it's cold. What should I be looking for?"

"It is not," he began, "what you are looking for; it is what you are not seeing - and, more to the point - who you are not seeing; not the lake, not the trees, the inhabitants, the dwellers...who are they? Where are they going? What makes them get out of bed every morning? What gets them through the day?"

The woman looked skeptically at him, raising an eyebrow as he continued.

"Looking up is a different way of starting the day, different than looking down; expecting nothing more implies never expecting change - don't you expect change? Aren't we all hoping for it?"

She closed her eyes now, a gesture she often made when she was frustrated. "Of course I hope for change. But I never expect it. At least, I've learned not to expect the kind of change that I might actually want."

He tilted his head, smiling ruefully. "Looking up...is qualitatively different and not just as a metaphor; it's not just an angle of vision, a position of our chins...it's your perspective-"

"No," she interrupted fiercely, "it's your perspective. ...Every time I fly into this city, I'm looking down. I can't help it. I'm not like you. And as for who I'm not seeing, well, I don't care about any of them. The only person I want to see here, I can't, so not much else matters to me right now."

With that, she went to climb back down the fire escape. He tried to grab her hand, but she was already gone.

with thanks to etouffee

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