CHARLOTTE, NC (Michael Gordon/The Charlotte Observer) - It takes almost a minute by elevator to reach the 21st floor of the Hyatt building on South Caldwell Street.
For 4-year-old Primrose Ashley and her mom, Wendy, the trip is much shorter. They live on the 17th floor.
Wednesday, the pair were part of a human crescent that looped around the top of the Fahrenheit restaurant. The biggest crowd, on the south side of the roof, was filled with the 250 people or so who had bought tickets to the trendy restaurant's eclipse party.
The north end, though was roped off for the building's full-time residents, the people who stare into the Charlotte skyline as the oversized mirror in their personal vanities. At the moment, that view was turning a golden brown as the sun steadily disappeared behind the moon.
"It looks like a banana," Primrose said as she gazed upward at the sun with a pair of oversized protective glasses.
She stuffed the glasses into a nearby potted plant. "The flowers want to look, too," she said.
The girl wore a shirt embossed with a kitten, dancing among stars and comets like so many pieces of celestial thread. While the adults picked from passing trays of sweet-corn hush puppies and chicken and beef on sticks, the little girl passed the time with a liquefying bag of M&Ms, not far from her mother's side.
Three years ago, Primrose and Wendy moved into their condo after the death of Primrose's dad to an illness.
Every night before bed, Primrose looks at the stars and makes a wish. On Sunday night, her last opportunity before the eclipse, she wished that her mom would always be happy.