I will look in your windows at night when the yellow iridescence of the street lamps meets the warm glow from you home over a dark patch somewhere between the sidewalk and your walls. I won’t stop in front of your house or apartment or townhome. I won’t linger or stare or invade the space that you’ve created. But I will look into your windows and into your life, into the shadow-box formed by the unique light of your house against the night. I will look and I will make guesses and assumptions as I walk, bundles against the cold, past your home bundled.
I’ll compare the light to the paint color. I’ll wonder if that color is crimson or terra cotta or some more exuberant shade such as “roasted macintosh” or “brick in sunlight.” I’ll guess at the temperature in the room from this one clue, with a certain fondness for deep reds and browns and rich yellows. A fondness that never extends to my own home. I’ll wonder at the art on the walls, squinting to see the positioning, and I’ll wonder just the same at the lack of art if that should be the case. I’ll tell myself a story about the portraits and the landscapes and the frames, dark heavy wood or faux gilt or cold metal, that hold each piece.
I will look into your windows and into your life, into the shadow-box formed by the unique light of your house against the night
I’ll catch a glimpse of a tight-backed sofa or a loved armchair or a floral no longer considered in style, but loved none the less. I’ll see furniture used and loved or pampered and protected. I’ll see table lamps with cloth shades resting on tables that remain hidden beneath the sill. I’ll guess at which seat is most comfortable, most inviting, most often offered to guests. I’ll see flickering screens as big as the window with watchers lost in the programming. I’ll see dinners is progress, phones pressed to ears, the isolating glow of electronics, laughter, exhaustion, and laziness after a long day.
I’ll see these things through drawn shades or parted curtains. Through each of three panels on a bay window or the various compartments of a latticed frame. I’ll see what I see without invitation or invasion as I pass by with only a few moments to glance and wonder and enjoy. I’ll see what only I can see from my spot on the sidewalk, outside and alone in the cold.