Breaking down walls is no easy task. Looking through a window is something different altogether. From the moment you set eyes on it, you couldn’t peel them away. A glimpse into that wickedly different house. Set on the suburban avenue of all suburban avenues. Not a speck of dust was ever in sight…or so you thought. This gleaming discontinuity frightened you! Yet, fear was a blanket to conceal your curiosity. So there you sat, every Sunday evening, on the porch that looked like everyone else’s, with your ginger cat on lap, the neighbor’s on his.
You all sat outside these nights, staring into the distance. Staring. No, this time you were looking. You were discovering, you were revealing, you were disarming that small window across the street. Its blinds were mangled around the frame and the glass was fragmented. Blackness consumed its innards. A blackness that was concealing much more than your fear. You were sure of that. So, day by day, you took a step closer, just one infinitesimal hop towards the other side of the street. Alas, all you could see was blackness, still, that darkness consuming your being. As your husband’s car squealed around the corner, you would jump, and scramble, and hide. You must hide, hide all your thinking,hide it all. Nothing could be more dangerous than allowing those closest to you to witness your deeper thinking. Deeper thinking, your one hideous sin.
One mild summer Saturday, the afternoon barbecue was beginning to wind down. You had been standing there all day, like a perfect doll. No one expected a thing.
“I’ll go get some more lemonade, I just whipped up a batch this morning,” you chimed.
“Alright dear!” your husband yelled as you merrily hopped away. Why didn’t anyone stop you? The lemonade was just fine, and everyone had ice tea to drink if it ran out. No, you had done too well. Your acting had fooled them all and now it was going to pay off. That window was itching at the back of your brain, slowly chipping away at mental walls. Breaking down walls? Too easy when the flames of lustful curiosity were ablaze in your mind. Slowly, you strutted along the sidewalk, frightful steps turning into meaningful strides. No one would see you. Barbecues weren’t an optional gathering, the community acted as one, and staying home was not an option on Saturdays. The window came into view and all distraction melted away. Your tunnel vision was ridiculous, fanatical. You had to see what was inside that house. You had to go through the window.
First, darkness. Second, a torn napkin. Third, a flood of blood curdling screams. Everything around you was shifting, and morphing, the walls were alive as your ginger cat, locked in a cage next to you. The next second, an enormous black bird filled the space your cat had just occupied. It stared at you with beady, red eyes. Spreading its wings, it let out a great squawk. You were thrown back against the wall, and you heard a crack. Your spine, weak from an eternity of complacency, was snapped in two. You didn’t notice though. The bird was putting you in a trance, slowly rolling its wings and hopping from spindly leg to leg. The darkest feathers you had ever seen swallowed you, a vortex of darkness. From the bird, a small infant sprouted. Human surely, its cries called to your maternal instincts. You couldn’t stop the tears, the baby’s sadness transferring unto you, taking over your body.
“No!” you cried, louder than you had ever been allowed to cry, “I was so wrong, I’ve been so wrong… the whole time…” Your moans were soon lost. The faces of neighbors filled your vision. All of them pointing at you. Pointing at you? No one had pointed before…it felt like all your walls were crashing down as one. Their fingers severed your legs and cut away your hair. All was laid bare. All your secrets, all your longings, all your thoughts…on display. You wanted to…and yet, where was that sad feeling? Where was your emptiness? Something new filled your gut…you couldn’t find the words. The world didn’t seem so cruel anymore. Sunlight through the window filled you with fresh hope. How could someone feel so much better just by…just by…
You looked out across the suburban landscape. The houses were stacked neatly together and everyone was out on their porches. All the neighbors stared off into the distance, petting their ginger cats. You looked across the street. That house, it seemed intriguing, almost familiar…you narrowed your eyes…and stared for a moment at a sterile, white, plaster wall. What a waste of time.