The Window

I stand in front of the window.  It has been painted so many times that I can’t get it open.  But tonight I try.  I wrestle it, pound on the edges, yank at the bottom, push at the top.  This window has never been opened to my knowledge.

42 responses to “The Window

  1. Moon Beams

    I stand in front of the window as I have every night since I arrived.


    This morning I watched couples strolling arm-in-arm, across the lawn before me some thirty feet below. Children chased across the grass in a frantic game of tag. I saw them scream, giddy with glee as they ran from each other, but only their silence reached my ears. I watched Miss Leary in her usual place on the white painted bench. She sat with one leg tucked beneath her, gently rocking back and forth, her lips moving as she read from her book of Psalms. Amos Goodson spent hours with a croquet mallet sending a wooden ball with orange stripes to points on the lawn that seemed important to him.

    I envied their freedom as the morning wind tickled the leaves on the oaks and pears. My hands pressed against the glass; my finger tips traced the crisscross diamond pattern of the woven wire imbedded in it.

    The window width is nearly one arm’s length, from my shoulders to my finger tips; its height a few inches taller than mine. It has been painted so many times that I can’t get it open. The palms of my hands have worn the white paint thin, and a shade of blue as fragile as the shade of a robin’s egg shows through in spots.

    But tonight I try. Again as I have every full moon night since I arrived. I wrestle it. Pound on the edges. Yank at the bottom. Push at the top. The sash handle is long removed and my hands which have become slippery with sweat are now reddened and sore. This window has never been opened to my knowledge, and that spans eighty years.

    The rising moon is orange and beckoning. I squint my eyes and study the man who resides there. He gives me a smile and a wink and a nod. I slip my shoes off, pull my chair to the window, and step up on its brocade seat. My gown fits loosely and with a shrug of my shoulders it falls pooled at my feet. I press my bare flesh to the window glass.

    My body shivers with delight as I sense it fracturing into diamond shaped morsels which pass freely through the glass, between the woven strands of wire. My body falls in minute pieces toward the softness of the damp grass below like human confetti. Fleshy shards scatter across the grounds, some landing on shrubs effortlessly as butterflies. Bits of me light on the ground and twinkle with the sparkle of snowflakes on Christmas morning. I am free.


    I feel the warmth of the morning sun flood my room and warm my naked body lying on the floor.

    • Jeff, what a sensible and beautiful story you wrote. Your really put out one of the best I have read from you. Congrats.

    • thornyrosedechile

      I like this piece very much. It feels gentle and magical. Heavy yet light at the same time. I wonder if she’s a prisoner, has been kidnapped, is the crazy old aunt that the family keeps locked up, or is there by choice.

      • “Rose:”

        Thank you for your kind and insightful comments on my story. What I like about short fiction is that that all the details one might find in longer fiction doesn’t have to be clear as long as the reader feels satisfied at the end of the story and not cheated. Jeff

    • Jeff, your stories are always beautifully woven works of art that leave me with goosebumps. I thoroughly enjoy your dark eerie side.

  2. I think I prefer “I am free,” to “I am at peace,” but alas I can’t edit here.

  3. Ah, but I can. Hope you don’t mind.
    I have been rather AWOL, but I do read. So fine, Jeff. I honor your energy and thoughtfulness.

  4. Jeff, your description makes me become that demented woman. Great piece.

  5. I stand in front of the window. It has been painted so many times that I can’t get it open. But tonight I try. I wrestle it, pound on the edges, yank at the bottom, push at the top. This window has never been opened to my knowledge. Since the air conditioner is almost always on here in the desert we just never bothered to open it.

    Chemo has made me a prisoner in my own home until my immune system recovers from the drugs they’re using to kill my cancer. I must avoid contact with anyone and anything outside of my home.

    I’ve encouraged my wife to have lunch with friends today. She has been my rock, and I worry about how she’s going to cope. I never expected to burden her like this, and I now realize it may get worse for her. The drugs may not kill my cancer. My cancer may kill me.

    The need for just a bit of fresh air overwhelms me, and up here on the top floor I should be far enough away from contamination. Even the feel of the blistering heat would be welcome at this point. If I can just pry the window up a little bit.

  6. oliviascarlett

    I stand in front of the window. It has been painted so many times that I can’t get it open. But tonight I try. I wrestle it, pound on the edges, yank at the bottom, push at the top. This window has never been opened to my knowledge. Like all things here, it is ancient and stubborn and will not budge, just like Dad. So I sit and gaze out at the cloud-drenched sky above the old barn which is green, gray and misty. The wretched red paint covering the barn is chipped, well-worn and as pale as the years of my Dad’s youth. Great double doors, opened wide as if to shelter are dark and vast; offering no relief, not that they could. The aged and crusty cedar shingles covering the roof serve as a temporary landing for the occasional pigeon or crow; unsung while they continue with their duty, day in and day out, of keeping out the bad. Looking up, I see the weather vane’s well-earned, greenish-blue patina that serves as a reminder of yesterdays’ storms. One small window at the peak of the barn stands constant as if searching the horizon, faithfully keeping watch over the farm like a reliable old dog. Finally, the mighty silo stands tall in the background, giving rise to the landscape while overgrown trees and shrubs scream for attention as they choke the life out of the barn’s once glorious, young form. This old farm had remained in our family for many, many years and, God willing, will remain for many more. But today as I gazed out Dad’s bedroom window I noticed the old barn in great detail for the very first time. The day he lay dying.

  7. Touching story, Olivia. Long time since last heard from you.

  8. Mom
    © 2014 Gale G Davis

    Doctor Hankins has been treating my schizophrenic mind for over thirty years. Meds have always been effective in allowing me to live a semi normal life. Until last month. Three weeks ago today, my wife found me floundering around in front of our house at four a.m., rearragning our carefully laid out cactus garden. When I related this to Hankins over the phone, he brought me in to his office for a session the next afternoon.

    “Not sure why the meds have failed, but remember, to maintain a balance of your brain’s chemistry is a very delicate task. We never really know how long a given treatment will last. I want to try some hypno therapy again, to see if we can figure out what is going on.” He spoke from his plush leather chair. I was stretched out in a large rather comfy barcalounger, fighting to keep awake. After the brief ritual of putting me into a deep hypnotic state, Doctor Hankins intoned, “I want you to imagine that you are standing in front of a window, a window that will allow you to see inside your brain’s inner workings.”

    I stand in front of the window.It has been painted so many times that I can’t get it open. But today I try. I wrestle it, pound on the edges, yank at the bottom, push at the top.This window has never been opened to my knowledge. I try now to peer into that window. It is opaque as dense fog I wait. It is
    clearing now. I make out the outline of a small boy. He is fighting off blows from a wooden coathanger wielded by…his mother. She is striking at his small bony legs, striking, striking, until the coathanger breaks. What the hell? She is crying now, telling him she is sorry. His sister is cowering in the closet nearby.

    Mom picks up the phone on the first ring.”Hi, it’s me. Got time to talk for a few minutes? I want to see what memories you about wooden coat-hangers.”

  9. galelikethewind

    2 edits It is as opaque.. in 3rd paragraph.. and memories you have about…in last paragraph. damn

  10. Absolutely great story, Gale!

  11. The Window.

    I was still naked inside a large walking-in closet and standing in front of this stupid window which has been painted so many times that I couldn’t get it open regardless of my efforts of wresting with it, pounding on its edges, yanking at the bottom and pushing at the top. This window has never been opened, I thought.

    Under the circumstances, and since I couldn’t get out of this place through the window I proceed to dress up, hide in the farthest corner of the closet and keep as quite as possible even though my heart was making a noise of a locomotive.

    On the other side of the door, I heard the voices of the woman I came to see arguing with her husband who was supposed to be traveling somewhere but who, apparently, changed his mind.

    “Why are you naked and still in bed at 11 o’clock in the morning? I heard the man asking.
    “I have this terrible headache and was about to take a bath” she answered.

    After a few long minutes of arguing back and forth I noticed that the voices were fading away. Following, I heard the front door being (been or being??) slammed with violence.

    Then I heard soft steps; the door was opened and there she was in her birthday dress.
    What are you doing all dressed up? She asked “Come on, let’s go back to bed.”

    Are you crazy? Do you thing that after this scare I’m going back to bed with you as if nothing ever happened.? I almost die of a heart attack in this closet.

    “So what are you going to do?”
    “I’m getting out of here pronto.” I replied.

    “I have a couple of Viagra pills if that will help you” she offered
    “Not even if you give me the Viagra intravenously will help. Good bye.”

  12. Delightfully goofy, Lando. You do come up with entertaining pieces.

  13. The window is painted shut I can’t get out. I tried high and low side to side but nothing moves. I can see outside and they are having fun. I want to join them. Why should they have all the fun while I’m stuck inside with no way to escape.
    It all started yesterday when the door was open just a bit. I looked inside and thought it would be nice to explore. The further I went the more I liked. There were many plants and colored items to look at. Fun statues to enjoy and then the kitchen held a joy I could not believe. It was heaven on earth. I lost rack of time and when I went back to the door it was shut. All I heard was the folks saying they would be gone a week or so.
    Back to the window I went and found a funny strip near it. I smelled good so I went over and looked at it. It was sticky as I landed on it I knew it was something my Mom had told me about. I was stuck with no way off. Such is the life of a fly.

    It has been a while missed this Marion

  14. great surprise ending….good job

  15. I’m sorry for having been away the last few challenges.

    Not being lazy by any small stretch of the imagination, I’ve been working a on a few ideas I thought I might share for this prompt.

    “Darrah Doe and the Six Lane Superhighway” is a children’s or young adult story about an ambitious female white-tail deer who is willing to ignore the clover in the median just to experience what mysteries lie beyond. If you think you know the ending, you don’t. Darrah makes it across the superhighway just fine. Unfortunately, the van that swerved to avoid her, the same one carrying the only matching kidney in seven states, explodes in a ball of fire.

    “Kitten in the Can” is a women in prison (WiP) story written in the style of 1950’s pulp. Samantha, wife of the mayor, and president of the Normal County Junior League, borrowed just $25 from the “Normal Gnats” booster club to buy a much needed handbag at Macy’s. Sold out by a former friend who also admired the same handbag, Samantha was sentenced to 90 days in the Eleanor Roosevelt Women’s Correctional Facility. That’s where she met Rosita, head of the ‘Flannel Gang’. Sleepovers, it seemed, would never be the same.

    “Barry Bird, Moron” is a very short story about a bird having window issues. I haven’t developed this much, but I’m working with “I stand in front of the window. It has been painted so many times that I can’t get it open. But tonight I try. I wrestle it, pound on the edges, yank at the bottom, push at the top. This window has never been opened to my knowledge.”

  16. Gary, snippets of ideas, as you’ve presented here, are the stuff of our stories. I like the idea of posting our “snippets” for others to expand upon. I came across one on my desktop a couple of days ago that I don’t even remember writing. Thanks for posting this


    Last weekend, just like Little Miss Muffett,
    I was sitting on my tuffett, eating my curds and whey.
    Along came a spider, sat down beside me
    And bit me under my left boob.
    I went to the ER via a friend’s car.
    And was sick all week long.

    The moral of the story…..

    Just because you are sitting on your tuffett, don’t think you are safe !!

  18. I’m glad to hear that you are on the mend, Peanut. Love the poem, Gale. Made me laugh out loud.

  19. Peanut, vitamin B1 makes you unappetizing to mosquitos. It might work for spiders, too.

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