Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The Little Window
(Morning in a quaint, Victorian hotel. A sleepy, tree-lined town.)
"Excuse me. I'm sorry. Excuse me."
"Yes? Mr. Sinclair?"
"Yes. Excuse me. I'm sorry to bother you, but I have kind of a strange question. A little urgent, though. A little bit important."
"What is that little window right there?"
"Yes. That little window. Down there."
"I'm not sure I understand."
"That window! Over on that wall by the floor!"
"Oh. Yes. People sometimes ask about that."
"Do they? Yes, well, I suppose they do. Obviously. I mean it's obvious, right? A weird window like that? Anyone would ask. Anyone would be curious."
"Are you alright, Mr. Sinclair?"
"Yes. Fine. Yes."
"Can I get you something to drink? You seem very flushed."
"I'm not flushed."
"Actually, you are."
"Why would someone put a window so close to the floor? It doesn't make any sense!"
"Is something upsetting you?"
"You seem rather upset."
"Well I asked you a question!"
"YES! WHAT IS THAT WINDOW?!?"
"Well, I don't know what to say. It's rather strange, if that's what you mean."
"It's so close to the floor."
"I mean, it doesn't go to the outside, right? I don't see any daylight. And that's an inside wall, not an outside one."
"I should get you something to drink. And a seat. Would you like to have a seat, Mr. Sinclair?"
"What would a window like that be for? It doesn't make any sense!"
"You don't have to raise your voice, Mr. Sinclair."
"I just want you to calm down."
"You keep looking at the window, Mr. Sinclair. Constantly. It may be better if you didn't."
"Look at me! Yes, over here. Look at me."
(Turning reluctantly. Glancing back.)
"That's better, isn't it? Take a deep breath, Mr. Sinclair. What would you like to drink?"
"I don't understand."
"I know. Your drink?"
"A Coke. I guess."
"I'll get you some tea. Jasmine tea. The fragrance is wonderful for getting your mind off things."
"Okay. Alright. Okay."
"Yes. Sit down. Rest for a moment. There's a lovely magazine on the table there. It's about scientific discoveries. Would you mind picking it up?"
(After a distracted delay.) "Why?"
"There's a wonderful article about superconductors. Or the future of space travel, if you prefer."
"You read that?"
"Keeps an old woman's mind young, if you will. I'm going to get your tea. It would be better if you concentrated on the magazine."
"I'll be back in a moment. You'll be okay."
(He pages through the articles, but the words won't stick. He turns to stare at the little window.)
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
"Turn over here. This way. I have your tea. Lovely fragrance, no?"
"You seem very preoccupied, Mr. Sinclair. And tired. You didn't sleep well, did you?"
"What is that window? Can you tell me?"
"You must stop dwelling on it."
"I can't! I don't even remember if I noticed it when I came in yesterday. I probably didn't. But somehow it's been on my mind. Up in my room. When I was trying to sleep. When I stood in the shower and washed my hair. I don't think I really understood what I was thinking about all this time until I came down here just now and saw it."
"It happens. Sometimes. I'm sorry."
"This. Right now. What's happening to you."
"Why can't I get that window out of my head?"
"I don't know."
"Part of me wants to break it. I could just kick it in! I could do it so easily."
"Mr. Sinclair, listen to me! You have to go. You have leave right this instant and never come back here again."
"Who would put a window there, anyway? Who would use it?"
"It's there. That's all that matters."
"It doesn't make any sense!"
"It doesn't have to make sense."
"Who would even look through such a window?"
(Realizing.) "A child! A child would look through that window!"
"You are going to leave, Mr. Sinclair. I'm serious. If you come back, I will call the police. I will have you arrested."
"Children love that window."
"You're not listening, Mr. Sinclair."
"But they can't see through, can they?"
"Mr. Sinclair, you must listen to what I'm saying!"
"They come through there, don't they? In that little room that's been covered up? The dead children come through there. From all around. Right through that one room."
"Pack your things. Walk up the stairs and pack your things."
"But they like the window. They like the crystal and cut glass. They stand and stare and don't bleed into the other rooms and hallways."
"Think of home, Mr. Sinclair. Think of work and all things waiting for you to come back and take care of."
"They stare until they get bored and drift away through the ceiling. I can see their invisible mist as they rise up through the trees."
"Wait. Where are you going, Mr. Sinclair?"
"Mists, slipping away."
"So many little eyes on that window. So many blank faces with smooth, unspoiled skin."
"If only I could just--"
"DON'T PUT YOUR FINGERS ON THE GLASS!"
(Question: When you look back at the picture of the window now, do you feel differently than when you first saw it?)