What had started out as an impulse trip to the Power Vista with friends had exploded into a trip to downtown Niagara Falls.
We went down to the gorge. We went up to the falls. We wandered aimlessly.
On a spur of the moment thing, I asked my friend if she wouldn’t mind walking over to the Rainbow Centre.
“Wanna take the elevators?” She asked.
My jaw hit the floor.
I had been wanting to go up the garage for some time. I kept forgetting about it, and I certainly wasn’t thinking of it this time.
The first thing I noticed as I approached the old mecca was the new construction sign on the front. A hint of progress? Hardly.
We fumbled our way over to the elevators. Guessing at random, I picked the third floor.
As the worn elevator doors opened, my eyes darted around the parking lot. I was desperate to see a hint of the mall. I spotted the windows. My feet left the ground.
I floated over to a darkened window, frustrated that I couldn’t see anything.
“Whoa,” my friend said.
I turned to her. She was staring through a broken window. A single missing pane.
“You won’t like this,” she said: knowing my fear of heights.
I didn’t care.
I looked down through the window, and I could see it.
I could see the ghosts of the Rainbow Centre.
The red railings peeled away from their white support. The polished floors had long been removed, leaving only concrete.
This was my Acropolis. This was the remnants of retail past. Millions of shoppers, the Festival of Lights, the Wintergarden: it all echoed through these ruins.
I must’ve taken a hundred photos of the same scene, just to be sure I got it. I promised I’d come back with a better camera, and I intend to keep that promise.