Before reading this, please ponder on the fact that this was found on an old laptop that I haven’t used since my early teens. It’s of awful quality, and to be honest the ending doesn’t seem to make an awful lot of sense. It was written with inspiration from a friend, who wrote a few sentences that painted a picture similar to the scene at the beginning of this story.
The snowflakes began to settle on the window frame building up a brilliant white barrier, blocking the view. All that was visible from the window was the falling snowflakes and the navy blue sky, until something else came into view. A boy trudged over the thickly covered ground towards the only streetlight which stood tall and black until at the top a prefect orange glow lit the area, reflecting off the snow and shining onto the boy’s back.
The youth had his head bowed, his eyes fixed on the irregular motion of his legs which were covered only by a thin layer of cotton. On his feet was a pair of large, brown leather boots, laced with a bow just above the boy’s ankle. His trousers had been pushed into the boots to keep the half-frozen water out. His shirt was a shade of light blue, open at the top and wrinkled casually as it sat over his wrists which held his hands in his trouser pockets. Covering his arms was a black jacket which hung loosely open over his sides. The boy’s blond hair was wet with snow and fell heavily around his face.
One could wonder what business was so important that a youth should have to go out in such conditions to complete it, or how far away the boy was from home. Only one person knew the answers to those questions, and that was the boy himself, trudging though the snow.
Suddenly the boy stopped and looked around, and for one moment he looked right at the window where the woman stood. She watched him every day at seven thirty exactly from her front window, once in a while glancing at a photograph that hung on her wall. The photo was of a youth, whose size and shape resembled that of the boy outside. His face was pale and surrounded by blond, straight hair. One couldn’t tell the exact colour of his eyes, for the photo was taken in black and white, but they were clearly pale and cold.
Sometimes the woman opens her window and calls out, but she never gets a response. This particular day the woman stayed inside, just looking, observing. She sat silently in her window just watching as the boy headed away from the city and into the quieter areas of 1950’s New York.
After the boy had passed her window and was out of sight, the woman went back inside again before sitting with a mug of boiled water and going to bed. This was the last time she would ever look for the youth. That’s what she managed to convince herself.
The woman tugged her boots over her ankles and slung a woolly coat over her shoulders. She shivered as she opened the door, making every bone in her body shudder as if they were rattling together. The woman began to walk down the ice covered sidewalk slowly. As she approached her destination, someone pushed past her the other way without even acknowledging her presence. He walked on purposefully without taking his eyes off his feet. The woman stopped and stared at the young man until she finally plucked up the courage to call out to him.
“You there!” she shouted. “Young man, excuse me?”
He didn’t even pause, or whip his head around to see who should be craving his attention so nervously. Instead he just plodded on, looking at his feet. His blond hair lay down his cheeks, laden with water from the melted snowflakes.
The woman sighed and turned back; following the route the youth took until she reached her home and went inside. She closed the front door behind her and looked up at the photo on the wall.
As the week went by the woman continued her strict routine, each day watching the boy as he made his way past the church and houses, past the streetlamp and onward towards the river. Each day the woman stared, sometimes glancing at her favourite photograph on the wall, sometimes questioning her better judgement.
As time progressed the weather worsened, but still the youth took time to venture past the woman’s house each day in the snow. Each day his garments got dirtier, weaker and increasingly damp. The soles of his boots wore down day by day due to the uneven ground and adverse conditions that had existed for the best part of two months.
Sometimes the woman would rise to her feet when the boy came into view. She would walk outside to see his face properly, but once she’d managed to set foot outside the building, the damp yet somehow crisp, icy air chilling her through while the wind howled through her door, filling the entrance hall with temporary snowflakes which disappeared once they net the heat of the open fire, the youth would no longer be in close proximity. Instead, the woman would look around, questioning his existence. The only evidence of him ever being in that very street were the footprints that were left after each day the boy embarked on his excursion.
The woman tried to continue her life without thinking about the boy, but it soon became apparent that this was too much of a fantasy. As she entered the shop by the church, the woman stopped in her tracks and stared. She was faced with a piece of paper displaying a photo of a young man. The picture exactly resembled the photo in her home, with the smiling face and piercing eyes. Above the picture was the word ‘MISSING’ in block capitals, written with an ink that was the darkest shade of black.
Once again, the woman never managed to make any purchases. Instead, images of the young man filled her head as she turned around and made her way back home again.
Some people believe in a lot more than others do. Belief and existence are very different things. One may believe that they are seeing something they know; when in reality they are seeing nothing at all.
The woman sat in her window at the usual time, but didn’t know what to expect. The young man always trudged past her window everyday without fail. She waited and waited but there was no sign of anyone, let alone the young man.
The woman sighed and stood up. She began to turn away from the window but she suddenly seemed to change her mind and jumped back again, pressing her face against the window with her hands cupped around her eyes. She blinked over and over but the man now making his way towards the river didn’t disappear. He stopped under the street lamp and looked in her direction. He was dressed up in a waistcoat and cravat, wearing a splendid jacket over it with tails. On his head sat a top hat and his shoes were a beautiful polished black leather. He had blond, straight hair and cold, empty pale eyes. His face looked around the age of thirty, but it was hard to tell. He seemed to look right past her and into her house, around her home. He appeared to be frozen. The woman jumped up and ran to the front door. She opened it hurriedly, but the man was gone as soon as the cold air managed to send a chill through the woman.
The woman looked around before closing her door and running into another room. She began to sort through a pile of boxes, eventually picking one up and opening it. The contents were dust-laden and dirty, but the woman was unfazed. Instead she seemed desperate, frantically searching through the box until finally retrieving a photo album. She flicked through the pages with a bony finger until finally stopping. She stared at the photograph in disbelief. What she was looking at would confuse any witness.
Smiling out from the black and white page were two people. A bride and bridegroom. The date was written in messy handwriting at the bottom of the photograph, ‘January 27th, 1913.’
The woman looked at the picture of herself enviously. She envied herself, for now she was cold and lonely. She envied the fact that in the past she was able to communicate to her husband.
The next day the woman waited in her window once again, and dead on time the man continued to plod along the street. He was no longer dressed up, as he only wore some pale trousers and a scruffy navy blue shirt. His shoes were worn and tattered and his feet were numb with cold. His hair was shorter and from a distance invisible, because of the shade of blond.
The woman stared, unable to take her vision off the man, for today he walked with a woman. She looked only a year or two younger than him, and wore a black skirt with a lime green coat over it. On her feet was a pair of black boots, and a woolly hat covered most of her head. Her lips were cherry red and her cheeks were rosy. Her eyes were dark and mysterious, a similar shade of brown to her hair, which just managed to reach her waist, which had a thick brown belt around it.
The two of them were engrossed in deep conversation until someone took the chance to end everything so suddenly. The woman who walked with the man was the woman in the photograph the old lady looked at so enviously.
The woman in the window screamed inside her head. She wanted to scream at the couple, tell them to run away and hide somewhere, go back the other way but something was stopping her. She tried to move to open the window but she was frozen to the spot.
It was the day after we were married when my husband and I were walking along an icy street while I wore my favourite lime green coat. That was the last day I ever saw my husband.
The woman in the window had always managed to block that day out of her mind. Until the day she witnessed it with her own eyes from her window, from inside her home, her sanctuary.
The man and woman continued to walk over the ice. The woman in the window stared helplessly as everything appeared to happen in slow motion. First there was a noise. The loudest noise anyone on the street had ever heard. Then the man fell backwards onto the floor, his back breaking as soon as he hit the ice. The young woman screamed and tried to catch him, but it was too late. She looked at him and screamed for help, not knowing what to do.
After it happened I hadn’t the foggiest idea of what to do. All I could do was scream for help, until a lovely old woman cane to our aid. I don’t know where she went after that. One minute she was helping us, the next…
The woman in the window finally realised who that old lady was, and ran outside. The couple were still there. She hurried over to them and spoke softly to the young woman.
“Don’t worry, he’ll be fine.”
Sometimes it’s better to lie, even when you know the truth, just to keep people happy and quiet. But sometimes they find out you’re lying before you have a chance to finish whatever it was you needed to lie about in the first place.
The older woman looked over the man with no particular purpose other than making the young woman believe that maybe there was a chance the man would survive such a well-aimed gunshot wound.
The older woman looked at the younger one nervously, but she just stared back blankly. The man still had his eyes open, and as the older woman looked into them, she could see her reflection. In the other eye she could see the young woman’s reflection. Suddenly the man seemed to become cross-eyed and the two reflections merged together, until the old woman’s reflection disappeared inside the body of the young woman.
The young woman looked around. Nobody was there other than a lone man, wearing all black other than a pair of bright white shoes that blended with the snowy ground.
The lady stood up and faced him, trembling slightly.
She stared into the barrel of the gun that killed her husband and said firmly:
“You can shoot me, but I won’t die.” Two voices seemed to come out of her single mouth. The voice of the lady and the voice of the old woman.
“Baloney,” the man growled, pulling the trigger without a second thought.
The lady fell backwards onto the ground and the man walked away, dropping the gun onto the ice as he did so.
The young lady stood up and looked at where she had landed. The body of the older woman lay still on the ice.
The lady closed her husband’s eyes for the last time and walked over the road into her house. The photograph stared at her as she went and sat in her window.
To see her husband again she would have to wait fifty years, and that’s what she did.
Fifty years later, she awoke in her bed. Looking in the mirror, she had aged exactly as she would have done if she was alive.
She waited and waited seven thirty every day, when she watched his youthful self walk past her window.
She watched the boy every day, taking note of how old he was and whether he looked joyous of dismal. She knew that one day, when she saw her very own self for the first time; she would have to take on responsibility to save herself from having to live alone.