It was almost dark by the time he unlocked his door on the 37th floor. He'd left the blinds on all the windows up, and the high-rise towers that surrounded him cast Etch A Sketch shadows on his living room wall, concrete and glass asserting themselves against a sinking sun.
He knew more about shadows now.
His father had bought him an Etch a Sketch when he was eight, and he had spent hours and days hunched over the gray screen, fiddling with the white knobs, drawing buildings he was sure he would one day design for real. Buildings like the ones his father drew on big sheets of paper with pencils and rulers and masking tape. When people looked over his shoulder at the gray screen and admired his work, he'd thank them and say, My dad is an architect, his heart beating puppy fast.
He set down the plastic bag with the few belongings he'd taken from the shallow drawer, and then he stared at the shadows, his hand on the light switch. It was quiet now, but the day had been full of noise. Rubber soles on linoleum. Metal clicks of the gurney. Beeps. So many beeps.
And then none.
When he pressed the switch, the ceiling lights exploded the shadows on the wall. The dimmer knob popped off in his hand.
My dad was an architect, he said out loud for the first time as he drew the blinds.