There is a window in my attic. I tried to open it three years ago when I moved here to write, but it was painted shut. Since then it has been a necessary source of light, filtered by the powdered texture of frosted glass, an opaque white glow to illuminate the scribbled papers on my desk. A desk in a room I have come to regard as a safe dwelling for my mind.
Last night, a storm blew overhead and I thought of my Auntie sharing her wisdom with me when I was younger. As the tree branches scratched against the window in the wind, I heard her voice in my ear: in a vicious storm an oak tree will snap and fall while bamboo will simply sway.
I leant back in my chair as a branch from the neighbouring fig tree tapped against the glass. As if my Auntie were responding to my thoughts, the branch began thrashing against the window. My heart leapt as the branch struck again and again with violent whips. With one final blow, the glass shattered into glitter. The dark walls around me met the night sky and there was only the glow of a lamp to articulate my position.
The invasion of the black night air carried an eerie mist of stillness. I walked to the window and, for the very first time, looked out of it. The darkness was close and comforting. I looked into the distance and flinched as I was met with the gaze of a young man looking at me steadily from the hue of his golden window. I looked harder at him trying to make out his features. I pulled back but still he searched me out of an almost infinite darkness. We stood together in our lighthouses with only the dark and the storm intersecting us.
In a youthful moment of abandon, my clothing began to peel away from my body. The sheer cotton of humid days fell downward like leaves in the autumn and I felt the rush of the cold night air upon my timid skin. He watched me as I unfolded layer upon layer of days, weeks, years until I met his gaze once more. I fed him with my smile and then I was hungry. I stood amongst my discarded clothing, naked to the world but only for him. There I watched him watch me far away, so close. He studied me as I stood revealed. For a while my legs were hardened and stern as the trunk of an oak tree but as the warmth of his contemplation stirred, I was all at once fluid, the wind circling around me – swaying like bamboo.