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Window Writer

by Regina Phelps

Just A Child by Estelle Sharrock Churchill
"Just A Child" by Estelle Sharrock Churchill

When I was a child, I remember writing on the window. The house in Brooklyn where we lived wasn't heated that well, and moisture would form on the inside of the glass as the temperature dropped. Autumn would gradually turn into winter, and the old oil burner in the cellar would send out a puff of smoke and chug like a train. Then, when it was cold outside and warm inside, I could write on the window. I would write my name. The letters would drip and sometimes leave a design that looked like a mountaintop.

I can hear my mother telling me to “Stop drawing on that window. You're making it a mess.” But it wasn't a mess to me. It was a picture of a tall mountain, its peak coated in ice, like the icing on a birthday cake when the cake is too warm and it drizzles down the sides. I can see Mom with her dishtowel wiping it off. It would dry but only for a little while.

The window in the hall was the only one I could reach, so on a cold winter's day Mom would give up and let me write. I'd press my face to the window as I watched the snow pile up in the driveway. A cold wind would blow through leafless trees, the moisture on my window would freeze, and ice would form on the inside.

I remember taking a breath and breathing out so that the ice would melt and drift down. I picked it off; it tasted funny like window cleaner

I was bored and wanted to go out. “It's too cold,” she said. “But soon the ice will melt on the window. Soon spring will be here.”

I watched that window, leaned my face against it, waiting. It was icy cold. My little cheek would be red. She would laugh. “Soon, little one,” she'd say.

Then, one day when I touched it, it was warmer. A spring rain lashed against it. Big droplets stained the outside but my window was warm. The mountain was gone. I was taller now and could see out better. A tree branch brushed against the house making a scraping sound.

“Look, Mom! There are little leaves on the branch. It must be here, right? Spring?"

We walked outside, the leftover leaves sticking to our shoes. They were wet and dirty. Mom bent down and picked some up. “Look under last year's leaves, Gina. Sprouts of grass and bulbs are coming up. Spring is here.”

The leaves would dry and crumble like the memory of winter. Birds would pick up small twigs and pieces of the dirty leaves and make nests with them. The cold breeze would turn warm, melting the winter's snow-blanket, and the spring sun would sparkle through the window of my childhood and warm the air.


Regina Phelps started writing seriously in the twilight of her life. She loves it with a passion and wishes she had started earlier. She has been published in small presses such as The Fiction Primer, Dogwood Tales, Happy, Satire and others. Recently she gave a second fiction reading in Manhattan. She lives on Long Island in New York and is a wife to a lobsterman, a mother of two, and a grandmother of four. She has just finished her first novel and is working on another. reginap@earthlink.net

 

 

Out of the Closet ]
Window Writer ]
Reconstructing My Father ]
Appreciate Life ]
The Psychiatrist as Poet ]

 

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