open windows
30.04.20 | 9:46 am

when i first moved here, i would walk down the street in the warm weather, the breeze sometimes pushing me forward. everyone who lived on the rez-de-chaussée would have their windows open. their music may have been playing -- french, sometimes, but usually american top 40 -- but most of the time, i would hear the sounds of cooking: utensils banging against pots and pans, the sizzle of whatever was on the stove, water boiling rapidly. following the sounds would be the smells: tomato sauce, or south asian spices, or heated butter melting in a pan.

if i could, i would peer into the apartments for a brief glimpse of their slice of life.

there would be a group of friends, talking quickly as they sat around each other on the couch, sharing a bottle or two of wine and eating cheese and bread. there would be a couple, their heads hanging slightly out the window as they blew cigarette smoke into the street. there would be an older person staring at the tv as someone bustled about in the kitchen preparing dinner for them.

sometimes they would see me. nod. say "bonjour" or "bonsoir." sometimes they would just look at me. sometimes they wouldn't see me at all.

now, many of those windows are always kept shut. or, at the very least, they've pulled a privacy curtain.

i can't see those glimpses of life anymore. sometimes i can still hear the music or the food cooking. sometimes i can smell, briefly, what's being made. but i can no longer see those bits of connection between other people, strangers to me, people who are tied together in ways i don't understand.

oh, how i wanted to be a part of it.

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