The water tower is coming down.
It used to be dark green. And at some point it was painted blue. That was after I left town, after I stopped looking at it. And now it’s coming down.
When I was young it was huge: a looming dark monolith in a field just in from the road. All the bad-asses in town claimed to have climbed it, but there was never any photographic evidence. The bad-asses’ older brothers also bragged about scaling its rusty face, but they had grown up and left town, unavailable for comment.
Sometimes I imagined grabbing hold of the metal ladder rungs and climbing into the clouds, but I never touched a rail. Climbing water towers, as the sign indicated, was dangerous, so I stayed on the ground. Always looking up. Never once even thinking that its bulging metal shell was actually full of water. Never once wondering how unnatural it seemed to keep a huge drum of water in the sky.
The water tower was on the way to my grandma’s house and near the store where I used to buy grandpa’s smokes, so almost every day I was moving past it, flying by on my bike. My cousins would come and we would play in its shadow. It was just always there. Sometimes it blotted out the sun.
And now the water tower is coming down. Chain link fencing encircles its base. And there is a new warning sign: Danger: Demolition. Big yellow machines have rolled in, awaiting the great dismantling. A new gravel road, freshly scuffed into the land, awaits the lumbering trucks that will haul away the metal bones.
And after not thinking about the water tower much, I know I’m going to miss it when it’s gone.