The endless fascination of a window

Published: September 23, 2018

For the imprisoned, a barred window changes night into day, summer to winter. PHOTO: GETTY

Windows are fascinating.

Many adventures have started with a gaze, a deep alley, a train station, or an intriguing stranger. We all share the secret hope that there is something better, across the river or over the hill. A universal wish, that we were out there somewhere, and not on this side of the window.

Yes, windows are fascinating.

Why else do we, as schoolchildren, stare out at the sky, yearning for the bell signalling the end of class? Cradling our chins in our pulpy hands, we looked out a pane of glass and let our imagination drift as we awaited the sound of freedom. The anticipation being the highlight of our day, we would watch a leaf hold its own against the wind, or an ant try to climb its Everest; the tick-tock of the clock promising us liberty.

For the imprisoned, a barred window changes night into day, summer to winter. Birds sing love songs through the cracks, about a love lost or without conditions. The wind whispers regret with every knock. The small window presents an illusory glimpse of a radiant, unreachable sky; high on the wall, unattainable. A hopeless hope – a taunt.

For travellers, windows are portals to what was, and what might be. Perhaps waiting to see yellow flowers near the highway, reminiscent of a promise once made. Exchanging a coy smile with a stranger; establishing a temporary connection. Thoughts may dig up familiar fears from the pools of forgotten memory – something so haunting it rattles the illusion of happiness built so carefully around us. The telephone wires on the side of the road sagging between poles, going up and down with the same rhythm as our heartbeats. Little pieces of ourselves sprinkled along the way, as we move closer to our destination.

For the blessed with cosy abodes, on cold winter evenings, these windows hold the fort between chill and warmth. Letting the evening rays ballet on the furniture before stretching and yawning, eventually bowing over warm blankets. The window, a defeated soldier, surrenders to the darkness outside, promising an end to this isolation as soon as the birds wake up.

On sunny days, these angry windows glare back, blinding us completely. Sunlight comes dancing in like a flamboyant guest, uninvited. Magnified rays glisten over dusty coffee tables, penetrating even the darkest of shadows. Nudging, poking, and waking everything up.

Windows can be devious too.

They can be sly and tricky.

They allow you to see through them, yet stay firm, rooted to their place, like a barrier. They are unclear in their deception, not backwards – like a mirror. Unconsciously, they make us trust what we see.

On rainy days, these very windows manipulate us, changing the way we see the world, inducing a silent melancholy, distorting everything we see. Playing a slow, sad song as they curve what is straight and blunt the edges. Mellow blues, pinks and reds, all merge together in a silvery mist. Hot breath on cold glass, translating thoughts into words, and clearing up the abstract.

And then there are our own, personal windows. Traitors to our souls, they broadcast the truth behind emotionless faces. Windows that once brimmed and blossomed, but are now like chipped paintings or mountains eroded by a steady stream. Windows that have become the source of unforgiving frost, a swirling dark storm, an angry ocean littered with sparkling stars that threaten to swallow you, if only you are brave enough to provoke them.

Yes, windows are of all kinds: innocent partitions, hopeful portals, furious hurdles, and even traitors.

These windows are just… fascinating.

Shamael Fraz

Shamael Fraz

The author is an entrepreneur, a social media influencer, a voracious reader and a passionate writer. She can be a coffee snob, with sarcasm as her loyal side kick.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.