I write this sitting in the living room window seat. That is, the low, deep window ledge I have enclosed by pulling forward the window's sheer white curtains and slipping behind them, settling into my own little sanctuary padded with throw pillows from the couch and and our fluffy green chair pads, which I am now noticing could use a good wash. It's a tad cramped so I can't say I'm truly comfortable, and there are two teenaged boys in wifebeaters and lowrider pants staring at me through the window from where they stand smoking on the corner, but as there are a couple yards of material hanging between me and the family clamor within the house, my hideout is (semi) private and I can type (mostly) uninterrupted. I have found that sitting in a place that is different from where you normally sit to think or write can be inspiring-- I once wrote the only poetry that I have ever considered better than my usual in a small clearing amongst the ponderosas in the Prescott National Forest. Of course, as "better than my usual" is only a slight step above "unerringly dismal" where my attempts at poetry are concerned (I'm not kidding, it should be illegal for me to wax poetic), I guess I really shouldn't read too much into that. Honestly. This is why I stick to haiku and the occasional limerick.
Faint voices echo from far away, children fighting, yelling, laughing. Deep, rumbly snores drifts across the room, but even Aaron's powernap can't penetrate my hideaway. Strange. The sheer curtain shouldn't hold out noise-- they don't really-- but it all seems so far away, nevertheless. The view from my second story perch is exceedingly unremarkable. Beyond the window lies a sidewalk running alongside a newly repaved parking lot, and beyond the parking lot is a grove of trees, elms I think, newly green with spring leaves gently swaying beneath a sky of lightest blue. But the colors seem dull. Lifeless, even. I crack the window so I can hear the leaves whisper to each other on the breeze, but all I hear is a passing jetliner roaring by. I tell myself that we won't be in this little townhouse forever, and in another year or two I will be sitting at a different window staring out as my children ride bikes up and down the road, or chase each other around and bounce on a trampoline in our yard, no tar-stinky repaved parking lots obstructing my view or smoking boys on the corner watching me. I try to imagine it, but the more my mind's eye tries to picture the lush green lawn and the happy, shouty children and the bicycles and the busy trampoline and perhaps a small dog (okay, probably not a dog, small or otherwise, as I enjoy life so much better without the pesky allergy anaphylaxis), the more washed out, grey, desolately drained of color my view of the road and the leaves and the sky seems.
The smokers have wandered away.
I close the window (the leaves won't talk to me and the pungent, odoriferous smell of the tar makes my eyes sting), and try to look away from the trees, but they draw me back-- boughs swaying, dancing, beckoning-- and as the sun wanders out from behind a cloud and a sudden shaft of sunlight shoots through the branches, I can't help but watch and sigh, and dream about split-level homes, wraparound porches, and tree-lined streets, and wish...
... But Hannah has discovered me and wonders why in the Sam Hill I am sitting in the window hiding behind a curtain and couldn't I please, please, please get her the birthday wrapping paper out of the attic so she can wrap Alli's presents, oh please, please, pretty please?
I take one last look outside, but it's useless. The curtains are thrown aside now and everyone sees me... the thrill of hiding away is gone. And as the clamor of my family grows increasingly louder and more chaotic with every second that passes since Hannah first discovered me, I feel a gentle wind-- a zephyr, a cleansing breeze-- blow across my face and I realize that the air around me is appreciably fresher with the curtains open-- crisp, even-- and I can breathe easier. Dreams of big homes and green lawns fade, but as I laugh at Hannah who is pulling at my arm-- Mom! Please! The wrapping paper! Momma!-- I realize, one, it is extraordinarily difficult to type one-handed, and two, the colors outside seem brighter now. Oh, and three, my butt has apparently fallen asleep, which... uncomfortable? Dreams of lovely homes and soft green lawns fall by the wayside as I unfold my legs and climb out of my hideout, but I don't despair. Because there is a chain of truth that spirals and dwells within every cell of my body. A pleasantness hidden beneath the unpleasantness of lawnless townhomes, and crowded bedrooms, and stinking, repaved parking lots, and teenage wastelanders smoking on the corner.
I am rich. And unfortuntely for Hannah, I'm pretty sure I'm out of birthday wrapping paper.
- mrtl commented:
I used to like to hide under my desk when I felt I needed a break. My students thought I was such a freak. Guess it's not a good idea to do that during class.
- » 5/07/2006 3:15 PM
- Cat commented:
Heh. mrtl, you = funny lady!
- » 5/07/2006 3:24 PM
- Nilbo commented:
We all need a cave of our own ... I'm glad you let us peek inside yours ...
- » 5/07/2006 6:27 PM
- WILLIAM commented:
Very cool. Reminds me of your running post form a little while back.
- » 5/07/2006 6:54 PM
- kalki commented:
I have a house with two trees in front and a big yard out back. And you know what I want? A windowseat.
Here's to enjoying our own riches.
- » 5/07/2006 10:06 PM
- Charlotte in Pa commented:
Nilbo! Stop peeking in Cat's cave. She's a married woman for goodness sake!
Beautiful post, Cat. I literally felt myself calming as I read it. Your words are soothing. Well done, girl!
- » 5/08/2006 8:59 AM
- Random and Odd commented:
Funny how what we wish for is something other than what we have.
You would probably KILL for my backyard...yet I wish I could just twinkle my nose and make it go away...or make it better.
You will have yours soon.
Dear Lord, Charlotte your comment cracked me up.
- » 5/08/2006 9:03 AM
- dashababy commented:
Beautiful writing there girl. Like Charlotte said, "calming".
- » 5/08/2006 10:52 AM
- kristine commented:
Cat, go check the video link on my blog. I was CRACKING UP thinking about YOU when I was watching it.
I can't imagine why.
- » 5/08/2006 7:18 PM
- Cat commented:
OMG, Kristine, I totally peed a little in my pants I laughed so hard! Okay, not really, but if I were severely incontinent, I so would have peed! For reals! HEE-LARIOUS!
- » 5/08/2006 7:50 PM