I used to laugh at the Mexicans behind the wall. I was just a child but the bitter irony isn’t softened by the fact. Now we all sit behind the wall looking at the far off city lights.
I swear the wall has moved further away over night. Not that it mattered, the single fact that mattered was that I was on the wrong side. We hadn’t noticed. we’d been drinking (of what origin I can’t recall) and warming our toes by some foul smokey fire. These Mexicans burnt anything they could find, trash was abundant. No one minded, it was a rare optimism someone assumed they live long enough that they would die from a bad old lung. The cold desert wind was more likely to take you.
I didn’t fear that freezing desert air taking me. My greatest fear had already taken me; the wall.
I can’t quite determine when I ended up on this side. It was in the middle of the sweltering day, we were squeezed out like sweat. New denizens came everyday at an increasing rate, wandered around dazed trying to introduce themselves (as if names mean something here).
Today has not been a bad day even with all that in mind, I caught a well rounded rat.
Another night of moaning passes. The groans come from the people and the unforgiving wind blowing through our shanties.
More and more people are flooding in. Each new group looks slightly better off than the last, we all looked better than the mexicans. We were all equal in the pit, and if anything the Mexicans were superior. The day my family and I had been swallowed (or spat out if you prefer) I finally understood the secret behind there knowing smiles. These smiles were prompted by my cruel laughter.
Now I smiled knowingly when I heard laughter coming from behind the wall.
I don’t smile at much else. Times are changing fast now. There are too many people in general. Food is on thin rations but so were feelings. It was hard to stretch the human spirit so far. Like fabric it was going to tear– and there would be blood. Ideas were hard to come by. Every man was the same, hungry and smelly. There were no heroes of the pit.
Too many cooks ruins the stew and boy was this place brewin’ with stress and grief.
In a way the wall’s small progress was comforting, a sense of purpose for the people. Men who thought themselves leaders theorised that we were conquering more land, but we all really knew that this land was the same as the last– dry and dead.
The only good thing about that wall was that we were getting closer to the lights in the sky. I watch them glitter all night, they never move unlike everything else here that squirms and wriggles.
Finally I have laid my eyes on the lights and they are attached to a tower.
We are getting closer.
Something is happening at the base of the great tower. Big constructions. Not even the construction workers are safe from the wall, I see them often and ask them what they did in the big tower.
“Demolitions on this skyscraper and just some simple work, say do you know how I can back there?”
I would just smile and walk back to my tent.
The meixcans are singing loudly tonight and the smoke isn’t so bad, my coughs died down.
“Lights are moving up.”
They chant over and over. My stability in this mess has been demolished just as this tower is about to be.
I sink into my squalor and cry into the thirty dirt.
Waking early I see that more construction workers have arrived and introducing themselves pointlessly. I rush forward to the wall to see if the tower has fallen.
They have almost cut completely through the bottom, like a lumberjack felling a tree.
It’s still standing. They removing bits from the bottom of the skyscraper bit by bit. They’re moving up and I return to bed feeling some how even more rejected.
As night comes so does the strong night breeze. There’s a loud crash that wakes me from my sleep, probably just a fight, but then the screaming starts– and no one around cares that much about a fight. I get up see the commotion coming from the empty base of the tower.
My God the wall has fallen over, I run with the crowd as we rush to the base of the tower.
There are men with champagne looking down at us. They laugh and but no one smiles.
There is a lonely construction worker sawing away at one last steel beam.
“Stop, stop!” we shout at him, he looks confused but continues absent mindly with his task anyway. A burly man knocks him on his arse.
A loud unnatural groan booms down from the heavens.
Slowly but surely the tower rises into the sky.
We through bricks as if to shoo it away but I secretly wished to weigh her down and bring her back to earth.
I asked the last workman who had been lefted behind why he’d continued cutting.
“It’s my job mister. Do you know where the nearest bus stop is? My name is Mich-..”
Ignoring what he said I simply watched those city lights rise into the night to join the stars.
I hope it was worth it, I thought.
I hope it they find something.
I hope they come back.
I hope they don’t forget me.