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The city stretched out before him. Tall shining skyscrapers reached into the sky. Multicolored ants marched along on concrete trails. The sun, orange and massive, gleamed off glass and steel. Pale birds circled on its surface like dark shadows. the crowd gathered below, men and women staring into the sky, at the tiny speck of a man.
His bare feet gripped the ledge. The setting sun warmed his face. He closed his eyes and felt the warm red glow that enveloped him, soothed him, shutting out the world. His body swayed in the breeze, his balance lost, he opened his eyes to the world again. Clouds drifted lazily out to sea, floating giant islands in the sky, fiery orange from the sun instead of white. Above them even higher clouds were a soft blanket of cotton, parallel ripples of grey and blue-green, as the sun, magnificently red, began its descent into the sea.
Where was his suit-coat and tie? He couldn't remember.
As the wind gusted, the crowd gasped, one great writhing beast with a hundred eyes all looking up. The cold wind bit at his flesh, at his very bones, matching the coldness in his heart, cold and empty. This sunset was as beautiful as any he had ever seen, yet it was not the same without her.
She had loved sunsets. They had sat many times on the quiet porch, his arms around her, feeling the cold November evening begin, the warmth of her body close to his underneath the blanket, the smell of burnt leaves in the air. How he had loved her. Now she was gone, and the memory of those happy times was now somehow incomplete, tasteless and dry without her to share them. He knew that part of his life, that part of himself, was gone forever. It seemed almost as if it was someone else's love, someone else's happy life, someone else's dream.
The shadows of the city stretched out farther as the light of day faded. The crowd below grew in size. Farther out he could see the cars snaking along, headlights winking on, filled with people returning home to their families, to their wives. Did they realize how fragile was their happiness?
He remembered her when they had only dated. He had been so afraid of her at first, of her beauty and charm. Afraid of those beautiful jade green eyes, her hair like fire. Her eyes alone had stolen his heart completely and in an instant, when his eyes met hers across the dance hall floor. He remembered the first night he had kissed her. He remembered the moon, full and bright, filling the sky. He held her close. Close enough to see every gold speck in her green eyes. He could feel her warm breath on his lips, sweet as autumn rain. Her nose hovered just a razors width away. His hands felt the small of her back and held her closer. He caressed her nose with his, lightly, slowly moving down her cheek, their lips moving ever closer barely touching, moist and soft, sweet dew on rose petals.
Memories, just memories now, and memories fade and die. What more pain even then he felt now to think memory might fade and lose her substance. How could he live with such loss?
The clouds had changed to fiery red; then, as the twilight neared, turned deep blue, then black at their edges. As the shadows stretched out ever farther, the clouds were swallowed by darkness, grasping, devouring the streets and the people and the cars, until only a few faint ripples of grey remained in the sky. The chill in the air bit ever deeper. The warm caress of the ledge turned cold. He leaned out into the wind and the crowd's scream reached a crescendo. As the sun sank finally into the ocean, Mr. Morton fell to earth.