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The Window

Valerie glared out of the window, the tears she had kept from her mother welling up in her eyes now. She knew it was childish to cry over getting grounded, but the fact that her parents still grounded her made her feel even more immature. Sure, she had allowed her grades to slip, and sure, she admitted to staying out past her curfew a little too often, but she was a senior, for chrissake! Wasn’t she supposed to do all of this, supposed to act out now and get it out of her system now, before college?
And suddenly every fear or doubt she had about Berkley came crashing down upon her, just as it had every time she allowed herself a few moments’ peace. How would her grades be there? How often would she be able to see her friends? And these were only assuming she got in…
The tears spilled over and as she hastily wiped them away, sniffling a little, the scene outside drifted into focus. It was typical for a Saturday morning, typical for her to be inside…though usually because she was working with the secondhand keyboard she had found on Craigslist. But she hadn’t done that in ages, not since making the application CD she had sent into Berkley… Was it possible for a musician to get writers’ block?
She focused back on the scene, forcing herself to take deep breaths. The gentle strumming of a guitar drifted up to the opening in her window, a song that sounded vaguely like something Jimi Hendrix would write… Looking down she saw an older man, brown and wrinkled, leaning against a dirty wall and sitting on a blanket, strumming at a battered acoustic guitar. She stared at him for a moment, thinking. Where have you come from? Did you have dreams, once, too? Do you still?
Her thoughts were interrupted by a blast of noise coming from a large moving van sitting idle in the traffic next to the man. The driver, an overly-pierced woman with bleached blond hair, stuck her head out of the van’s open window and began yelling at the VW bug crawling along in front of her. The driver stuck his middle finger out of the window in return before turning a corner and driving off, leaving the van more space. The woman spit on the ground before retreating back inside the car and moving forward.
Valerie shook her head, smiling a little. Typical. Typical, typical, typical.
More noise drifted up from below her window, brisk, no-nonsense voices. A police car had pulled up in the van’s vacated spot, and two cops were ushering the guitar player away from the building. The guitarist in turn was shaking his head and yelling in what sounded like Spanish, but to no avail. Finally, he frowned at the policemen and shook his head sadly before walking off with his guitar.
Meanwhile, the police car had caused more traffic, idling in a tow zone on the side of the road. More horns than ever were being honked at the car, and one woman called something out to the policemen before laughing and driving off. One of the men yelled something at the retreating car before being pushed into his own by his partner and driving off.
Valerie’s smile began to grow. She couldn’t remember the last time she had actually looked outside long enough to actually notice the city, and now that she had, she was beginning to feel a little more hopeful about writing a song. Wiping her eyes some more, she pushed herself up off of her bed and walked eagerly over to the keyboard on the other side of the room, pulling a pencil from behind her ear as she did so. Grinning broadly now, she sat down at the keyboard, her fingers itching. That window had given her some ideas. She was going to have some fun now…



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