A Window to the Past

A Window to the Past

by:Janani.G

On the 2nd floor of a certain apartment building, there is a window. 

Well, to be frank, there are multiple windows.

But in this story, only one really matters.

On the grounds outside of the apartment building, there is a perfect spot to peer into this window. You would just have to stand next to a certain flagpole, next to a certain bench, from where you could see everything that was happening through this window.

And inside, what would you have seen?

It depended.

Sometimes you would see a crowd of people gathered around a kindly old woman. A teacher, you could assume. Almost every afternoon, a group of people visited, bearing smiles and an eagerness to learn. 

During the evening, the old woman who was a teacher would be joined by an even older woman. She didn’t appear as gentle, but there was a harsh sort of love in her very demeanor. 

The old woman, and the older woman, would sit together, and watch something on the television while chatting about their day.

Other times, there would be an old man sitting alone, reading a newspaper. Or perhaps watching cricket, obvious from the loud commentary, audible even from our little bench, 2 floors below. The old man had a scholarly aura, exuding a sense of resolute seriousness. But no one could ever mistake his austerity for callousness, not when his eyes twinkled with the affection he could not express. 

The best thing that could be seen would be a group of children, gathered there. 

They could be sweaty and grimy from messing around too much, or wearing their best clothes, holding a bundle of fireworks. 

They could be playing cards with the old woman, chatting with the old man, or be chased around by the older woman, clutching a stolen bag of sweets.

But whenever they were there, being happy seemed like such a simple thing. Laughter echoed down, all the way from that 2nd-floor window. A haven of joy that would never change. 

Until it did.

Suddenly, the group of people that showed up to learn from the old woman, no longer appeared. 

The old woman had also grown thinner, and more sickly. 

Yet even her tired face never lost that gentle smile. 

One day, the old woman never showed up again. 

It was just the older woman and old man now. 

The children still appeared, but they were no longer children. There was a sense of moroseness, and grimness in them. Being happy didn’t seem so simple anymore, even for them.

Another day, the older woman was no longer there.

The old man is left alone, yet unable to leave that place, trapped with joyous memories of the past. As though leaving, would somehow take another part of him away. 

And so he sat, alone, by the window. 

In the end, the old man was gone as well.

If you looked into this window now, all you would see is a dark emptiness. No laughter, no smiles, no people. 

It was as though there was nothing of the past remaining.  

All that’s left is the memories of what once was. 

And maybe one day- will be again.

Perhaps the next time you look through that window- there would be another story, beginning anew.

For the ending of one tale, means the start of another.

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