Objective: You will analyze non-fiction texts in order to describe how the overall structure and meaning are determined by its aesthetic impact.
Lucy the Girl in the Window
I once worked in an office that was separated from the building opposite by a narrow road. All the windows on that side of the building were chest high so you could only look out if you stood up. There was nothing to see really except the second floor of the building opposite. Every morning I would grab my tea and stare out of the window wistfully for no particular reason other than to see the outside world. One morning I saw a woman looking out of the window of the building opposite and realized that she was waving to me. I waved back. The next morning the same thing happened. I realized that I was looking into her bedroom and I guess she must have thought I had been watching her. I felt embarrassed but also oddly fascinated, like some kind of voyeur, and felt compelled to look out of the window any time I got the chance, even when I should really have been doing my work.
Sometimes she would sit at her dressing table putting on her makeup and then suddenly look up and smile. It was like a game of ‘peek-a-boo’. Sometimes she wasn’t wearing much or anything at all but she didn’t seem to care and waved to me without a hint of embarrassment. Other times she might pass the window and look out to see if I was there and if I was she looked happy. On a couple of occasions I would stay slightly out of sight and watch the expression on her face or just watch her relaxing on a big cushion or doing yoga. Sometimes she would look up as if sensing my presence and flash me a smile before continuing what she was doing. This went on for several weeks and each time I saw her I thought I knew her a little better.
I could often see what mood she was in. Sometimes I could hear her playing music and see her dancing other times clutching a mug of tea crying for some reason. One day I looked out and saw her on the street arguing with a guy. Later as she looked out I saw her tear streaked face looking up at my window as if for comfort. She smiled when she saw me and I mouthed the words ‘are you ok’ and she made the ‘ok’ sign back. I said goodbye to her most days and when I was traveling to work I couldn’t help thinking of her. I felt my heart jump when I saw her.
It dawned on me one day that I had developed quite strong feelings for her – even jealousy. Sometimes if she was dressing she would hold clothes up and ask my opinion about what she should wear. Sometimes she would put things on and dance around and I would do thumbs up or down.
At Christmas we put little banners up for each other wishing each other a ‘Merry Christmas.’ She was going to a party and had a lovely tight fitting black dress that on that occasion got a double-thumbs-up and a ‘wow.’ She thought this was hilarious and did a double-thumbs-up old person dance to tease me. I was laughing too and at that point standing on my desk, wiggling my hips about somewhat suggestively showing her my best moves, when my boss, who had entered my room without knocking, cleared his throat -finally making me aware of his presence. He gave me a very strange -what on earth are you doing- look and asked me if I was feeling ok. My response was somewhat bizarrely to pretend I was swatting a fly as I hoped he had not been there very long. I mimed the incident to her later and she was extremely amused. During supervision a week later my boss kept asking me if there was anything bothering me as I had been spending a lot of time in my room and not mixing with my colleagues very much. Actually I just wanted to get back to my room to see my friend.
Then one day I was walking in the park nearby and I saw her sitting on a bench reading a book. I walked past a few times but I couldn’t bring myself to talk to her. I am not certain if she saw me. I don’t know why but perhaps in some way I didn’t want to lose our window relationship. If I had spoken to her I guess things might have changed. How many other relationships had I had that seemed to be so pleasant and mutually rewarding? We had intimate moments. Sometimes we had arguments about minor misunderstandings but somehow we made up. Sometimes we had little trial separations but we always got back together. When I was having a bad day I would look out of the window forlornly and she would be there ready to offer comfort. We spoke without words as she seemed to know what I was feeling with uncanny precision. I felt her warmth and positive energy and I was there for her too.
She must have worked at night if she worked at all. I knew that if I knew too much about her maybe things would change. I was then very busy for a while covering for a colleague and then I was on vacation for a few weeks. I seemed to have no time for my window friend but I was always thinking of her. When I eventually came back I looked out of the window there were no curtains at her window and the room looked empty. My heart sank and I feared the worst. Why had I not told her I was going on leave? Why hadn’t I put a notice up to explain? I realized that she must have wondered where I had gone and maybe felt the way I felt right now. How had I become so attached to her? Later that morning I was checking my post when I caught sight of a lilac colored letter propped on top of the letter trays with other odds bits of homeless mail addressed to ‘My Friend at the Window.’ I knew this had to be for me. Inside there was a neatly written card and also a Polaroid of me at the window - taken without my knowledge. It simply said
‘Hello my dear friend at the window.
My name is Lucy.
Where have you been?
I miss you so much.
Am I crazy? Did you say yes?
I will be leaving my room on the 12th June to go and live in
Canada with my family.
PS Please come and see me before I go if not I will assume you don’t want to know me anymore (make sure you come ok).
It was the 15th June. There was no way to contact her again. Ironically I had missed her so much during my leave that I had decided to risk seeing her face to face but now it was apparently too late. Whenever I looked out the window now my eyes were drawn to that dark square now so lifeless and cold without her presence. It became harder and harder to look out without feeling a great sense of sadness and loss. One day I stopped looking out the window and never did so again until I too moved on. I have never forgotten Lucy my girlfriend at the window.