4/22/20: Windows

The day my sister was born, my dad came to get me from day care early. He was still in a dress shirt and tie because he came straight from work. He put me in the car and I looked out the window at the watery reflection in the sideview mirror’s surface. It trembled like a pond in the wind as my dad opened the car door and got in.

There was a skylight of sorts in the Willowdale Elementary School library; it was a weird opaque glass or plastic, an off-ivory color that let a milky light through but no sights at all. When it rained you could stand in the echoing hollow of the library and see the shadows of the rain roll down the skylight’s domed surface like etchings of tides.

Running errands with my dad, through the car windshield once I watched a big storm not happen. The sky was a lunatic, the clouds built up like iron but the sun was still trying to break through; horizon to horizon was turned into a holy terror of gold seams and purple welter. We drove, I think, to some kind of hardware store, and my dad bought, I think, something made of brass, like a replacement handle for the bathroom door or a lighting fixture.

When we moved from Omaha to Aurora, we had our stuff brought over by a moving trucks but took a plane to get to the new house ahead of them. I got the window seat on the flight. It was an early flight and the cloudy, cold, rainy day was blue with dawn. The oval window wavered under the steady touch of rain. I had prepared a speech because I didn’t feel much actual grief about moving, but felt that I should. I delivered this speech in my head as the plane was taking off. But I kept thinking the plane was taking off when it was actually just taxiing, jockeying for a strip, and so I had to keep restarting my speech to get the timing right, because I wanted to say the key line, the line I was most proud of and thought was most moving, as the plane lifted off of the ground. The speech was to my Omaha friends and the line I was proud of was “Thanks for being my friends.”

When I lived in Aurora, off of 43, I would watch storms come in through our backdoor windows. The neighborhood was new and still in development, so after a truncated little patch of green grass it was cracked construction yard dirt, stretching away until it met the Presbyterian Church’s greenery at an abrupt seam. I’d watch the storms lour over the church’s single tiny spire. I can’t say whether or not I ever thought about what it would be like if a low-flying cloud raked its belly over the spire and split itself, drenching the church with its withheld water.

There was a small crescent-shaped window in my blue-walled room. It stood over a larger, square window. It was divided into little triangular sections by wooden rods; it looked like a slice of orange. Sometimes in the mornings before school or on a weekend I would watch the white early cloudy sky mean nothing through it; but when the sky was blue and clear it came through that window in the most perfect way imaginable.

When we both lived here, and you’d invite me over, I’d come up to the front door. You were expecting me and told me not to knock, because we met up late. There were windows on either side of the door, and lights on in the entryway, and when I knocked you would come from around the corner and sometimes smile or make a face at me through the glass.

Once we spent Christmas with your family and were all gathered in the big living room with the floor-to-ceiling windows. During the day they looked down into the wet green slant of your family’s property, but at night, like now, they were black and reflected the room, but peopled with black doppelgangers/  The reflection of the overhead light also hung high up in them, flaring like a sun.

One time somebody broke into your car and you sent me a picture of it when it happened. The back window had been broken into, and all the bits glass sat primly on the backseat like a pile of those glass stones that people fill jars with.

The bedroom window in our first, temporary apartment in Boulder was long, short, rectangular, running across the wall above the bed. It was covered by a long pull shade, funnily stunted to accommodate the window’s weird dimensions. We lived there for the summer and mostly it looked out onto a baking sidewalk, the main road beyond, passing cars.

In my apartment in Parma the kitchen was shaped like a very short hallway, and there was a small window at the end of it, with grubby curtains on a runner in front that would fall off if they were yanked too hard. The window looked into the parking lot, which was surrounded on two sides by trees.

Here, there are two small windows set into the top of the front door. From where I sit, I can see down the stairs and out of one of them. From this angle all I see is a little square of tarmac: the road that passes by the front of this place. This little square changes with the time of day, and the nature of the light as it is worked and resorted by each day’s weather. Looking at it now, all I can tell is that it’s cloudy out.

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