In my new job, I work on the third floor of an old building that has many useless architectural accoutrements and doodads. They’re all things the architect thought would look nice back in 1932, but which now serve no purpose at all, and perhaps they never did.
One of the useless things is a balcony that runs all the way along our side of the third floor, just below the windows. It only seems to be there because someone decided that this side of the building would look a bit more interesting if there was a balcony on it. It’s a very long balcony – perhaps as long as two or three double decker buses parked end to end, or maybe as long as a fireman’s hose, if the fireman’s hose was the same length as two or three double decker buses parked end to end.
It doesn’t look to me like a balcony that I was meant to go and stand on. It’s not very wide, for a start. You could stand on it, and walk along it if you weren’t planning to swing your arms about too much, but you couldn’t put a chair of any kind there, at least not in such a way that you could actually sit on it. The wall along the edge is only just waist high, so you’d feel a bit exposed on it as well.
None of that means that I don’t want to stand on it. Unfortunately, I can’t, because none of the windows open wide enough and the doors – we have two sets of double doors that would open on to it – are locked. The doors are also blocked by some furniture and other piles of tat.
I don’t know why I want to stand on the balcony so much. It would be cold and unpleasant and dangerous, and there would be nothing for me to do once I was out there. There’s no good reason to stand on the balcony. It’s not even a balcony for standing on. That’s why the doors are locked. They aren’t doors for walking through. But none of that changes the fact that I want to stand on it, just for a little bit, just to say I did.
One day it will get the better of me. One day I will climb out of the window. And on that day you will know I made it because you won’t hear from me for a long time, and it will be because I got stuck on the balcony you’re not meant to stand on, and had to be rescued by the fire brigade. And it will be worth it.