She sweated her way up the stairs, the lady in the yellow dress, the heat of the noon sun pushing her down, baking her bare arms and the dark hair hanging down her back. Each uneven step forced her eyes downward. The stone – worn and pitted by the steps of men and the wash of rain over the centuries – rose up and up and up. Narrow, twisting, haphazard stairs led her to the tower, the pinnacle of the ancient wall. For her it became another task in the long list of tasks. From here to there without rest or reason. She felt a drop of sweat slide down between her shoulder blades seeking a shaded refuge from the heat.
Step by step she hauled herself up – unaware of the sounds, the birds singing for joy and freedom, the subtle guitar music wafting up from a busker on the street below, the multilingual chorus singing of Babel and home.
Then she saw it. With three steps still remaining she chanced to look up and saw the whole world. Sun and sky ceded their territory to river and land, meeting at the dim, distant mountains. The still air of the baking stadium fled before the breeze off the sea in the distance.Words failed, language ceased, sweat and spirit sublimated in a sudden indrawn breath.
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