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filled with such panic

i heard a woman jumped
from the john hancock building,
fifty-something floors.
i work on the thirty-
second floor of the civic
opera building, it’s older
than the john hancock, and
we have regular windows
there. you see, the john hancock
has bullet-proof windows
that don’t just open up,
whereas we have windows
that just slide up and down,
like the ones you have in
your own home. sometimes
i open the window, stick my
head out and look at the
street. the wind is so strong
when you’re up that high.
sometimes we spit out the
window. a few times we
threw a paper airplane out the
window, watched it soar
down wacker drive. i never
stick my head out past my
shoulders, and i’m one of the
more adventurous ones at
my office. i can’t imagine
looking out the window,
then going out past the
shoulders, opening that
window all the way, and
just going out. i’d be filled
with such panic. i did the
wrong thing, i’d think, then
i’d struggle to find a ledge
to cling to right before i’d
start to fall.

Copyright Janet Kuypers.
All rights reserved. No material
may be reprinted without express permission.

Blister and Burn, Janet Kuypers 2007 book