Marquez and a window to the world


Every word spoken in the room fought an uphill battle against the windows.

The white room, where I sat two weeks ago, was not our old classroom. Not the dark, cool cave where we found our footing, where we closed the curtains and looked at yellowed images on the screen. This room had no curtains and the white walls were loud; I realized I did not remember the color of the walls in the old room. It was 1 o’clock, everyone was out for lunch. A few returned. Five of them sat down, there were six of them in the room when I put away my book of short stories written by Marquez.

The light green cover with fake pink flowers looked natural on the many shades of brown that the table wore. I rose and saw everyone bowing down, peering at laptops and phones the light bouncing of their eyes. I saw the window and it drew me closer. Every hour no matter how good the lecture, I’d steal a glance at it.

I could see a frugal slice of the city stretched out before me. The view stretched far, so far that the sky hid away towers in the distance that popped in and out of sight like ghosts in a fog. When A friend of mine and I first discovered the room and saw that no one else was present we stood on the table near the window and looked out of it. We didn’t say a word, we never mentioned it again; we just stood and stared out.

Now I looked through it again. I looked at the roof of the yellow building that stood in front of college. I realize I’m spying on two women, arm in arm, wrapped in dull yellow and blue. On any other day their clothes would be invisible. But the grey sky did wonders and I couldn’t help but stare. I was two floors above them, they would never think to look at the window, they would never realize the roof wasn’t as private as they thought it was. I felt it was wrong of me to have seen them. It looked like a counselling session. I couldn’t tell who needed the counselling, but I was sure the middle-aged women were saying things that demanded privacy. No was ever on the roof, no one would ever want to tempt the storm clouds that flowed above.

When I was no longer willing to play the role of voyeur I noticed the sky had 3 shades of grey. The lowest clouds moved slowly, they were the lightest grey. The second set was grayer, faster. The third and uppermost set was darkest and fastest. It surprised me, it didn’t look real but then again I never spent so long looking at the sky. I turned and brought Marquez to the window.

A friend looked up from her laptop; I learnt later that she was watching people who claimed to have risen from the dead. Strange girl. I looked out again and noticed it had gotten brighter. The women were no longer alone, a man came up told them something. They said a few words after he left, but were now awkward with each other. One left. The yellow one stayed on the roof and looked at the road.

Two birds sat on a dead, leafless branch of a tree that rose up to the window. One tweeted, the other said nothing. A crow flew close but seemed to notice the birds only when he was right in front them. He made a deft turn and fall. He flew the other way after he had put a floors distance between them. I thought I saw a squirrels tail but the bell rang before I could investigate further. I took my seat near the window and waited for class to begin.

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