Maria Isabel Pita
Copyright © Maria Isabel Pita
The Miami sky is often more interesting than the flat ground beneath it. Massive clouds loom on every horizon like the pale and powerful torsos of gods shoving against each other.
On a Wednesday morning in November, Carmen Palacios is gazing up at a shaft of light wielded like a sword by the cumulus army, not paying much attention to the dull battle of rush hour traffic around her.
She nearly hits a jaguar.
Shaken, she concentrates on her driving the rest of the way to work.
She parks in her allotted space, and getting out of the car allows herself one last wistful glance up at the heavens.
Above the twelve-story building, the sky’s delicate blue color darkens towards the zenith like a lake’s deepening waters, where indigo islands float around a volcano made of giant cotton balls. Its massive dimensions absorb her for a timeless moment as a gust of wind whispers of the cool weather to come.
Inside, her high-heels make an efficient ticking sound on terracotta tiles. Mirrored elevator doors gleam between the leaves of real trees, flashes of lighting in the quiet storm of water rushing down into a fountain from the mezzanine.
Up on the ninth floor in a shadowy foyer, Seaside Fuel’s obese receptionist, Louise, sits inside a circular glass booth. The first time Carmen saw her, she thought of a prehistoric toad preserved in ice. ‘Good morning, Carmen.’