I was flying about the city one evening. It was just before darkness, that beautiful deepening of the colors – that hour when the texture of color thickens. When the colors are perfect, that moment before the darkness lies heavy upon them. Several households had turned on their lights, and the apartment buildings came to life with the little golden square windows that told that there were people within. I was coming from high up and the wind was carrying me northwards, but I dipped my head and swooped downwards and eastwards towards the town. I wanted to look inside. I wanted to see who these people are, and what they do.
All and all it is a happy city. I visited first an open window. It was a long largish window opening into an open-plan living room. Facing the window was a desk, and at a laptop on it sat a woman typing. A mug of coffee was on her right, tobacco, and an uncleaned violin near her at the end of the long desk surface. She didn’t see me coming but she saw me there. She pulled the curtain to open completely so that I could see the whole room, and turned her attention back to writing. The room was large and long, with wooden floors. On one side its walls were mostly of window. The furniture was minimal. The woman was barefoot. It is a beautiful warm night.
It is a happy city. Pretty much everyone is doing something that they want to be doing. But there is a sadness. A loneliness. A gap. A missing person. You can see it in the dark gentle eyes of the writer. Something substantial is being missed. Her eyes smile, and they concentrate on their task in a most friendly way, but they also look past their object. They look for something that is not there. They long for it.
You can hear it in the music that is coming out of the people’s windows. In the voices of the singers. Like in the voice of Bill Withers, when it is played in this town, it sounds like a presence is missing. One you know who should be here. In some houses, there are photographs on the walls. The facial features differ in each, but they portray the same presence. The same person from here who is missing. There is a longing about the place. But all and all it is a happy city.
I sit on the woman’s window sill, and I look at her. She looks at me, she offers me a coffee. She pushes her computer slightly to the side, and rolls a cigarette. It is a beautiful warm night.