The Window

Chaithali Pisupati
Published on: 24th July 2014
Lugging her school bag, she walked towards the wall. It had been on her mind long enough. She would know today. She walked brisk steps with her pet stray dog in tow. She had named brownie simply because he was brown. She had to get home before her mom or there would be hell to pay.

Her teacher had told her mom about her friendship with brownie and how she was the last kid to leave school, during the last meeting. Her mom had not appreciated it and had given her strict instructions to get home as soon as school was let out. Somehow she still found a way to stay back; it was not defiance or anything. She loved playing with brownie a lot. In some ways, he was her best friend.

She turned the street corner, turning back to check if this was the correct way. It felt right and she moved on.

The window had intrigued her from the day the school had re-opened for this year and the teacher assigned her the seat in the first row just next to it. On the same day, during short break, she strained her neck to see what was outside the window, it was a brief space and partially blocked by a wall at some distance.
the window,love,affection
It didn't make sense. It was as if the wall was hiding something, a private space. She looked out of the window again during her lunch break. The view was obstructed; she could not make out what was on the other side. She was mildly irritated, 'What was the point of putting a window here if you cannot see anything from it?' Obviously she was not going to say that loud to anyone. No one seemed to care about that window.

She thought someone would bring it up but none of her classmates ever did. It made her even more curious. She looked out of it every single day hoping for some activity but there never ever was anything except a blank space and a wall. She couldn't even see the bottom end of the wall. She normally opened up a book she borrowed from the library and pretended to read it so that others wouldn't find it strange that she liked to stare into an open window day after day. She liked to read and she finished reading the books much sooner than the seven days that they were allowed to keep the book for. During the lunch break she was usually pretending to read, so that the others would leave her alone.

It wasn't staring as much as contemplating what view it held. It was like someone had deliberately wanted to hide something. A secret that they did not want the world to know. Who were those 'they' - she didn't care? An eleven year old normally doesn't go into such details now, does she? All she felt was that something was hidden there.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sight of the wall. She knew it was the right wall. She had stared at it for so long, for so many days that she knew the pattern on the bricks, the little stains and cracks.

'Now what?' she thought. She noticed that the bottom end of the wall that was never visible from the windows had a door. She froze. A large wall with a small wooden door, it was clear that whoever was inside wanted to keep the world out.

Maybe it was someone's house. Every inch of her good sense told her to turn back and go home but she couldn't. It was now or never. She looked for a calling bell, not finding it she knocked. If someone answered, she would ask for water, she decided. A few minutes passed by and no one answered. She slowly pushed the door. It was hard to open but wasn't locked.

She pushed it open with all her might and went in. Brownie followed suit. It seemed like a garden and she looked around. It was the most beautiful garden that she had ever laid her eyes on. Flowers of all colours in full bloom, some she had never seen before. Butterflies flew from one flower to another. The floor of the garden was a grass bed, completely green. In the middle of the garden was a bench, a bench painted blue. She walked closer to the bench to realize that a man was sitting on it. He had his back to her. She suddenly recognized him. A lump rose in her throat and her heart almost popped into her mouth. Keeping her distance and balancing the school bag she stretched her hand and slowly tapped his shoulder.

He turned around to face her. It WAS him. "I have been expecting you," he said, "What took you so long?" She jumped in front of him and hugged him and started to cry, "Why are you here? Why are you not with us? Don't you know that I miss you?" She was surprised that she remembered his touch and the way he smelt.

"I know you miss me," he said, "I knew you would find me. You were always my favourite. I was not allowed to leave from here until you came to get me. That was the deal; you had to find me and take me home. Now that you found me, we can go home."

With that he got up and said, "Lead the way, princess!"

She picked up her school bag that she had tossed away in the joy of seeing him and holding his hand started walking to the door when a sharp ray of sunlight hit her face. She looked around and it took her less than a minute to realize it was a dream.
She turned to look at her mother draw the curtains. "Get up Kanna," she said, "or you will get late for school!" Adjusting her eyes to the light she looked at the photograph on the wall, the one with all four of them, smiling. It was taken almost a year ago before he died, even before he had fallen sick! She felt a sadness that she hadn't felt in a long time.

She got off the bed, and mechanically, as always got ready for school. The window didn't bother her anymore. She still stared at it during lunch time but now in a more detached way, with a desire that didn't need to be satiated.
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