“It was the calendar that the mayor of New York had erected last year on the top of a building, so that citizens might tell the day of the month as they told the hours of the day, by glancing up at a public tower.  A white rectangle hung over the city, imparting the date to the men in the streets below.  In the rusty light of this evening’s sunset, the rectangle said:  September 2.

Eddie Willers looked away.  He had never liked the sight of that calendar.  It disturbed him, in a manner he could not explain or define.  The feeling seemed to blend with his sense of uneasiness; it had the same quality.

He thought suddenly that there was some phrase, a kind of quotation, that expressed what the calendar seemed to suggest.  But he could not recall it.  He walked, groping for a sentence that hung in his mind as an empty shape.  He could neither fill it or nor dismiss it.  He glanced back.  The white rectangle stood above the roofs, saying in immovable finality:  September 2.

Eddie Willers shifted his glance down the street.  to the vegetable pushcart at the stoop of a brownstone house.  He saw a pile of bright gold carrots and the fresh green of onions.  He saw a clean white curtain blowing at an open window.  He saw a bus turning a corner, expertly steered.  He wondered why he felt reassured–and then, why he felt the sudden, inexplicable wish that these things were not left in the open, unprotected against the empty space above.

When he came to Fifth Avenue, he kept his eyes on the windows of the stores he passed.  There was nothing he needed or wished to buy; but he liked to see the display of goods, any goods, objects made by men, to be used by men.  He enjoyed the sight of a prosperous street; not more than every fourth one of the stores was out of business, its windows dark and empty.”

Rand, Ayn.  Atlas Shrugged.  New York:  Signet, 1957.  p 12.

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