If Walls Could Talk – Penthouse on Top of the World

I am a penthouse.

Born on the top of a local hotel.

I have all of the things a house would have. I am self contained. My power and water and gas runs off its own grid. My yard is about the size of the building I am perched on top of. There has been grass but it was replaced by gravel. Potted plants and raised gardens catch prime sunshine, far above the dogs that leave piddles and poops.

Birds, though, I’ve seen a lot of birds. Some wild life, rats, mice, those creatures are always as sure as the world.

I am a house in my own right but like I said, I am better. Maybe I didn’t tell you I am better. I was built for luxury. The family who lived in me was living at the top of the world.

Looking down on everyone else.

In my time I was a luxury but these days, I’m just a house that is a little harder to get to. I haven’t been kept up and I was never in a big city so the folks I looked down upon were few. And if they aren’t looking up then I am just a lot of effort gone to waste.

The first family to live in me was the hotel’s owner and I was put up here as an afterthought.

The workers who built me were very unsure of themselves, not being from a big city. They had the plans but no experience. They were nice enough fellows. They brought their lunches and lived in town. I would have liked them to have more faith in me and a little less enthusiasm.

It was a great time.

The crew came six days a week and hauling things away was strange, it seemed odd that they’d bring up things they didn’t need. It was also a bit mind-numbing to see how construction workers do so much walking.

A guy hammers and hammers while another guy measures and saws and a third guy comes to look at everything. It doesn’t stop there, a fourth fellow checks the third guy’s appraisal and before I was declared habitable to the hotel owner, guys in suits came and measure things.

Reporters came and littered with flash bulbs that were ejected from metal cones.

The family didn’t stay long.

I was a manager’s unit when the building became an apartment house. Not long after that, shops began to open on the building’s lower floors.

Then there was a fire. It happened two floors away from me but soon ate its way up and scorched my west facing side.

The lower floors stayed open but the upper floors and I had to be shut down. Then the economy changed and while the upper apartments were fixed, remodeled and rewired, I was forgotten. Abandoned.

Every time the hotel changes hands someone comes up and unlocks my doors, throws open the windows and makes a public vow to fix me up again.

The last economic upturn attracted only new houses and buildings and apartments.

Someone came up and said I’d make a great rooftop bar.

From luxury to bar.

I really don’t feel good about that.

Being a bar is so ordinary.

But when they get inside and see my frayed wires, old fashioned penny fuse boxes, lead pipes, I am sure they will tear me down and scrap any plans for rebuilding.

I would really rather not become a bar. That is not the life for me.

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.


  1. I love this idea of different buildings/houses being characters. It does make you look at the walls around you, think of all the life in them in a way. The penthouse had many more layers than I’d think when seeing one. (I enjoyed Jan’s comment too! What a wonderful thing to talk to your house.)

  2. Sally, I enjoyed your roof top. I felt sorry for it though, I am a sentimental old fool. I tell my house good night every night, and tell it to enjoy the moon, the stars and if it is migration time, the wonderful birds flying over. In May we had 3 layers of shingles taken off the roof, I warned my house that it would really hurt for a while, but after a couple of days it would look mighty fine!
    Your roof top was a vivid picture for me!

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