It’s funny what happens when you read the word ‘window’. For some people, this word will conjure up the image of a double-glazed window, which seals with the satisfying sound of air compression as it is closed when it’s too cold. When it’s too hot however, this type of window will ‘crack open’ at the top, when the handle is turned upwards and pulled back, also in a satisfyingly mechanical motion. For others, the word will make them think of their neighbours, and of peering into their living rooms from across the street in the evening (and how that particular house has that horrible bright white light) in a situation similar to Rear Window. The word-image association game may take a few by surprise, and lead them to a window which overlooks a red brick wall, with a rectangular slither of blue sky to its left. The fortunate ones will, on the other hand, imagine a tall and thin English-style window, which heavily slides upwards to let the air in. Most likely, this window will have a white wooden frame to hold twelve panes of glass—as well as a window-seat, next to a freshly-plumped, duvetted bed.
I hope I never forget this view. From my bed, I block the red lights from the construction cranes from my sight through a slight contortion of my neck and a re-arrangement of pillows. I prefer to look at the hill in the distance and the silhouettes of the dome, the tower and the trees. Tonight, the clouds have caught the city lights, as well as that red from the cranes, in a luminous blushed-grey mist. So, I continue to lie in my bed with the lights off to take in the scene, foregrounded by the tiled, chimneyed rooftops. I remember one night when the scene was particularly spectacular, when, as I walked into the room in my pyjamas, I simply had to sit on my bed for a while to admire the view, the towel wrapped around my hair weighting my head nicely into a soft craning position. That night, the unusually bright moonlight had hardened the shadows on the roofs and, in a silvery gleam, had made time stand still—the sky beyond deeply dark. So, I waited for the chorus line of chimney sweeps from Mary Poppins to appear. Whilst on this topic, I should mention that the scene from my window is perhaps at its best when there is fog (to which the general rule applies that the denser the fog the better). Then, only the house on the immediate left is visible, and, from the hill, in a dissolved blur, glows the illuminated tower and dome. In this type of weather, it is difficult for the cranes to disrupt the scene, as they themselves can no longer be seen. Their red light, in fact, becomes useful, tinting the moment with a beautifully ominous hue.
My previous window was also marvellous. This was not so much so for the view, but, rather, because it was a large bay window, framed with heavy (and only slightly dusty) red velvet curtains at the end of an enormously sparse room. When the sun shone through, from the morning to the early afternoon, it photosynthesised my cheese plant towards the right, a sun-worshipper upon its little wicker plinth. However, it is true that I prefer my current window. So much so in fact that, even when it no longer belongs to me, I will make sure to select this one from my extensive catalogue when I next encounter the word ‘window’.
Written by Michelle Wolodarsky