Window Pains

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I spent the first 11 years of my life bargaining for the bed near the window. Elisa was five years older than me and somehow that entitled her to first dibs on bedroom preferences. I was very lonely in the corner of the room, with my bed against the cold wall and nothing but her boy band posters surrounding me. Despite the fact that everything in that room belonged to my sister, even my second hand dresser, blankets and clothes, I was madly in love with it and I dreamed relentlessly of the day that I could make it my own.

What I wanted the most was the view from the window. There was a perfect maple tree on our front lawn that stood as high as our three story house, with it’s branches reaching just beyond our roof. From the window you could almost touch it, but it was enough just to see it there in all it’s beauty, watching people stop and stare as they walked past, stunned by its strength and stature.

As a kid, you don’t really understand death, it’s something that simply eludes you. For years I watched that tree turn colors. I watched some leaves fly away and others crumble. I watched many getting raked up as winter approached, and others I saw buried by snow. But it never occurred to me that these leaves had died, because as soon as spring came, I saw them again. And soon after, the tree would turn colors, the leaves would crumble and blow and fall…

It wasn’t until we moved from that house that I realized how much that view meant to me. For all of those years I got to believe that life never really ended. There was only a tiny window in my new room, with a view of the townhouses across the path. I never took the time to look out of it, and I placed my bed in the opposite side of the room. As pathetic as it sounds to admit it, I was resentful of my new window and I just couldn’t face it… Because a part of me knew that what I would really be facing, was growing up.

Now that I live on my own, the windows seem so strange. My father had always installed our windows, since he owned his own home improvement business. I took pride in knowing that he chose them and that he put them there. One of my new views is of the river. Another is of the city. But no matter how I look at it, I only ever see one thing…

That maple tree on my old front lawn stares back at me in my mind, and I know that all of those years spent begging for my bed near the window were worth waiting for.

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