People surrounded her as she climbed the steps of the old tower, yet she felt completely alone. No one took any notice of her; she was invisible. Up and up she went, gazing out the windows as she passed them to see how far she'd gone. She reached the top, and stepped out into the glaring sunlight. All around her, every where she turned, she saw an endless blue sky dotted with white and gray clouds that capped the lush green mountains surrounding the lone tower. The people around her oohed and ahhed at the sight, snapping photos of the scenery and of each other. She wished they would all go away so that she might enjoy this moment on her own. In the distance she could see a town, which suddenly seemed much further away than it actually was. Gazing at the mountains, she could feel the mixed blood of her ancestors in her veins pulsing through her body. She was the brown native, taking from and giving to the land in equal parts. She was the white conqueror, encroaching on those long established here. She was the black captive, forced to work this strange land far from home. She was all of these and none of these, rooted in the past yet looking to the future. This was her home as it much as it was the home of the brown native, yet at the same time it was strange and foreign to her as it was to the white conqueror and the black captive. It was beautiful and alluring, calling to her in a way nothing else did. And yet as it called to her it contradicted itself with its strangeness, forever leaving her to feel the intruder in the midst of the lush, strange beauty. She turned to head back down the stairs, and by the time she had reached the bottom the momentary sense of belonging had completely dissipated. Once again she was wholly a visitor, and nothing more.
She sits at her desk, her feet once again firmly planted in the reality of her existence. She gazes for a moment at the souvenirs she has brought in. She feels nothing for them. Something inside her yearns to return to those moments, but the yearning is a weak thing. This is where she belongs; this is where she fits in. Those mountains are her past, and her roots go deep there. But where she is now will lead to her future, and this is home now. She can go back and visit; but she can never really go back. Only forward.
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