William Quincy Belle is just a guy. Nobody famous; nobody rich; just some guy who likes to periodically add his two cents worth with the hope, accounting for inflation, that $0.02 is not over-evaluating his contribution. He claims that at the heart of the writing process is some sort of (psychotic) urge to put it down on paper and likes to recite the following which so far he hasn't been able to attribute to anyone: "A writer is an egomaniac with low self-esteem."
You will find Mr. Belle's unbridled stream of consciousness here (http://wqebelle.blogspot.ca) or @here (https://twitter.com/wqbelle).
The Light in the Window
Max crumbled up his ticket and threw it in a trashcan by the door. He put on his toque and stepped out of the cinema. The brisk air of winter felt refreshing and he walked holding his gloves instead of putting them on. The movie had been good and this was the best IMAX theatre in the city so he had to see it here. Although, there was always the danger of running into somebody he knew and would the movie be worth it if he had such an uncomfortable meeting?
He stood on the corner waiting for the traffic light. Looking around, he tried to make up his mind. Should he? He was so close; it seemed stupid not to take advantage of the situation. The light turned green, so he decided to let it show him what to do. He jumped off the curb to avoid a pool of slush and crossed the street. It was only one block up and one block over; so close and so simple, but he felt himself getting a little apprehensive. Please, dear God, don’t let me run into anybody I know. He kept scanning the other pedestrians hoping, no praying, that if he saw somebody, he would see them first and be able to turn away in the wild hope of not being recognised.
It was early evening but with Christmas only a couple of weeks away, the streets were busy. Streetlamps were sprouting festive decorations and storefronts had seasonally themed displays. He smiled. This time of year had a sense of warmth to it, a feeling of family, closeness, and nostalgia. It may be chilly out but you could always have a cup of hot chocolate. It felt good to wrap your hands around a warm mug.
He arrived at the next corner and turned left. He scanned the other side of the street trying to look at each pedestrian. If he saw somebody, he figured they would be on that side of the street, but anything was possible. He was close. As he took the final steps, the other side opened up at a side street. He looked up. There it was, set back behind a row of stores, the nine-story building standing as a silent backdrop to the commercial bustle.
He moved to the edge of the sidewalk and stopped. He stared at the windows of the eight-floor corner condo. A light was visible in the balcony window. He assumed somebody was at home. That meant there was less of a chance of seeing a familiar face. He looked around again, checking both sides of the street but not recognising anybody. He looked up at the window. It was less than a block away but he knew it was now light-years away. It was once his, or theirs, and now it wasn’t. He had walked up this street countless times to this very corner and looked up to see that light in the window and knew it was the light of home, his home. Sometimes, he had stopped to stare at that lighted window to relish for a moment it was his place in the world; it was where he belonged. He would smile at the thought that he would shortly cross the threshold into that light, into the safety and security of his home, into loving arms and an open heart.
Somebody brushed against him. He looked at the person walking away then looked down to see if he could shift a little more to stay out of the way of the other pedestrians. He looked back up at the window. This would probably be the week to get the Christmas tree out of the storage locker. He would have gotten the luggage cart from the lobby and gone into the garage to the storage area and pulled out the various boxes containing the tree and the decorations. It would have taken the two of them a couple of hours to get everything sorted out: putting the various parts of the tree together, getting the strings of lights in place, and hanging the various ornaments. The kids were grown, but they still liked to visit and add things to the tree. Closer to Christmas, he would always add envelopes individually addressed to each member of the family, as well as husbands, boyfriends, and potential holiday visitors. Come Christmas day, he didn’t want anybody left out. Joy to the world and joy to each and every one under this roof.
As he stared at the window, a wave of nostalgia came over him. He experienced an enormous sadness. A tear welled up in his eye and he reached into a pocket for a tissue. He pulled out something and glanced down at his hand. It was a napkin from the last time he had stopped for a slice of pizza. Holding up his glasses, he wiped his eye. He looked again at the window then blew his nose. He looked down and sighed. He felt tired. Sadness was exhausting. It was a difficult burden to bear.
He turned and started down the sidewalk. That was enough. Besides, he didn’t want to push his luck. The last thing he needed was to have anybody see him standing there staring at the window like he was a stalking ex.
The streets were busy. The decorations on the streetlamps had a pleasant holiday spirit. He thought that Christmas was always a joyful time of the year. What a wonderful time to meet family and friends, share a few laughs, and tell stories about what had happened during the year, to catch up on life. He sighed. Just not for him.
It would take an hour on public transit for Max to get back to his small one-bedroom apartment. There would be no light on in the window.
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