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WINDOWS INTO WORLDS

· Vietnam

The old buildings of this charming town are filled with windows. Of course every town is, but this is different. They all have so much personality. Shuttered, mouldering, dark and mysterious, bright and open ... What's behind all these windows? And what can you see through them? The view is different from inside than out - views into different worlds? Each window opens into a different situation. What's the situation for each one - and how do they all connect? This is the writing assignment for me today ... Give it a try!

Here's what I wrote.

The window to nowhere

She stopped and her mother grabbed for her hand, but Quye pulled it away.

“Come, come!” her mother said. But Quye always stopped here. Here there was a window in the wall that didn’t go anywhere. There was a hole in the yellow plaster winged by heavy wooden shutters on either side; but through the gash it was just brick. Why? Window are meant to let you see and to let the air in; so why did this one have bricks in it? Quye had asked her mother about this before, and her mother said,

“There’s no window. It’s just a hole in the wall that shows the brick.”

“Then why are there shutters? To close up the window?” asked Quye.

“Just someone being silly,” said her mother.

Quye knew that wasn’t the real story. But she wondered what it was. She shaded her eyes as she looked up at the window.

“Come!” said her mother again. And she grabbed Quye’s hand and yanked her forward.

Quye passed by the window often, whether on errands with her mother or going back and forth to school, so she had lots of opportunities to wonder about the strange window. Even though she was already nine, she wasn’t tall enough to see into it properly.. So one day, when her mother was occupied with her baby brother, she went to the back of the house where her father fixed scooters and found a five-gallon pail. She peered into its depths. It was rusty and had a few inches of murky rainwater in the bottom, buzzing with insects. Her name meant "little bird," but since she couldn't fly, she needed the bucket. Quye figured she’d be safe taking it for a while. No one would miss it.

Though the pail wasn't all that heavy, its size made it difficult to manoeuvre. But Quye persisted, first hoisting, then dragging, then again hoisting its metal carcass down the street. Her thick, black bangs fell into her eyes and her face shone with sweat. When she reached the window, she set the bucket upside down and took a big breath, her heart pounding. She scrambled up. From here, she was just able to grip the bottom of the gash in the wall with her fingers. She stood on tip toes and peered into the wall.

Red and brown brick and mortar. She squinted, trying to see through the sun’s glare from behind, whether there were chinks. She could see nothing.

She stood there for a long time, seeing nothing, and yet feeling sure that there was something—something through that window.

Then she smelled it—a scent that was like … She stopped still. She didn’t know what it was like. She breathed in deeply. It was sweet and fresh and—spicy. And subtle. She sniffed. Creamy. No, that wasn’t right; round and soft and—no! Strong and sharp, and—

There was a bang and a great jolt and the bucket came out from under Quye’s feet. She fell hard. A woman was tangled up around her with a bicycle, her cellphone flying from her hand.

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