Published: September 19, 2014
You're lying on a park bench, watching the world go by. You've recently turned 14, and therefore too old to go in the playground, though it makes little difference to you now. Last summer they got rid of the big slide, health and safety reasons as such, and it's not been fun anymore. You have little to do while your little brother is enjoying the swings, so you take out your phone and play a game, pretending to look busy. But you soon give up.
Still, you could be indoors right now, doing homework in front of the TV, watching the same old sitcoms and getting stuck on the second question. So you enjoy the fresh air for what it is. Taking in a deep breath of it, you recline on the bench and stretch out your legs. And you raise an arm to brush the long hair out of your eyes.
You tilt your head back and watch the world go by. Everything looks the same, except upside down. You see a ceiling of green grass, crossed by the black ribbon of the tarmac footpath. There is an ocean of blue sky below you, dotted with white cloud islands. You take quiet amusement at the people nearby who are walking with their dogs, mysteriously glued to the ceiling. A group of boys from the year above are playing a noisy game of three-way football, also upside down. You see the ball take off and fly downwards, only to curve back up and hit the ceiling.
A flock of pigeons, disturbed by the thump of the football, fly away upwards. Or are they going downwards to escape the ceiling? Downwards, definitely downwards. You don't know why that confused you, but it’s perfectly clear now: down is up and up is down, and gravity pulls things upwards. You consider this paradox, turning it over and over in your head. Then the illusion is so complete, that you may as well be living in an upside-down world, then you start to roll over. And you fall… downwards.