We were at dinner: my parents, Mari, Daryl, Nick, Mel and I. We were in a relatively dark restaurant/bar, in a building that was rather labyrinthine, and the meal was ending when the idea emerged that we should head to the roof to watch the incoming lightning. We got up, and walked single file behind the bar. I was the last person in line, behind Mel. By the time Mel and I reached the stairs, we had fallen behind enough that we couldn’t tell if they’d gone up the stairs or down.
It occurred to us that perhaps we should check down first. We descended the stairs, only to find the ceiling got closer and closer. Were the floors smaller in height? (I believe so, though I never checked). By the time we were very near the bottom, Mel and I had to crouch and crawl. We decided they weren’t headed in that direction.
We started the ascent, and quickly rose to the top. We opened a hatch onto the roof, which revealed that we were on a platform six foot wide and six foot long. There were two other young women on the roof already, but none of my family. I looked out to the horizon and saw my family together on another roof, some 100 yards away. Their platform was closer to 25′ by 25′. Much safer, it seemed, to have that much surface area on which to move around. All around us, water. Dark water came up to the height of the platform. We were, effectively, an island.
I was perplexed: We must have missed a turn. How did we leave from the same place and wind up 100 yards away? I wasn’t fearful of the water, though the distance between us and them seemed vast. The limited area of the roof made me nervous and I was confused by the immensity of the water: why the windows of the restaurant, which ought to be below us, didn’t look out into water. And then I was puzzled that perhaps there weren’t any windows. I could tell that the members of my family were moving around, pointing at things, looking into the distance, marveling.
I looked up for lightning, saw a small arm crack across the sky far away. Had the distinct feeling like maybe we’d missed it, or it had moved on pretty substantially. Mel explored the rooftop and the other two women mostly chatted between themselves, despite our close quarters. They seemed as though they were readying to go back inside.
My stepsister noticed us. She seemed to indicate to the others that she was coming over, but they didn’t pick up on it. She started walking, and she walked on the water’s surface. She did not get wet. She was in no danger. She walked fairly calmly, and I watched as she came over as though walking across water was a normal thing to do.
I knew the water was cold, but not frigid. I knew it was hundreds of stories deep. I knew it stretched on to the horizon in basically every direction, though I never did turn around fully- perhaps only 320 degrees. I had no sense that we lived in water world. It felt almost as though this was a part of the landscape: the way there are palm trees in some areas and rolling hills in others. It wasn’t post-apocalyptic, really, there just happened to be underwater buildings (which we would call skyscrapers…. only…. these only scraped the surface). It wasn’t until we’d been up there a while that I started to wonder how all the water came to be and why it seemed so normal to everyone else.