Her wallpaper is floral. Forget-me-nots… I think, in blue. She has a birdcage in the corner, but no bird. I once thought I saw one – but it was just a trick of the light.
She doesn’t eat much, or maybe she does but she doesn’t cook much. Occasionally she’ll eat a piece of toast by the window, slowly, looking out and staring as though waiting for something to rise up, or fall down.
I eat a lot… but you can probably tell.
She could be pretty. Long hair and then one day short – I watched her cutting it over the sink. She stuffed a jar with the hair, left it in the middle of the table. An ornament. Then would avoid looking at it each time she came into her kitchen.
I know you’re wondering how I know this.
One night, under a wet sky, a man appeared. He was clean-shaven and pushed her down onto the table. He removed her stockings – each one in its own time. I moved to turn off the light but then that jar broke and she screamed and he jumped up with blood coming from his ear. Once he’d left she didn’t move or put on her stockings. The next morning she was still on the table. It was raining, with an open window.
I’m new to this town which is why I stay in this room. Back home I had friends, and liked math, and a boy called Tom kissed me after we’d watched this movie about a woman who gets carried away by a big bear. But then Tom kissed another girl who lived in a large house and knew how to ride and knew she was pretty.
Only when she put her hair into a new jar did it stop raining.
Her window is like my kitchen’s mirror because we’re exactly opposite… do you see, my table (makes a mirroring gesture with the opposite hand) and her table.
A mother. Her mother, but she didn’t take off her coat or let go of her bag as her daughter made her tea. The mother didn’t comment on the jar of hair. Then she left and came back with a small box, inside was a bird with a yellow breast. The mother put it in the cage, gave it some food and water, kissed her daughter, left. The girl took the whole day staring at the bird.
When that girl kissed Tom I’d wanted to do something to the two of them. Something to draw blood.
One day when there was a light wind she threw her hair out the window. It floated away, not down.
I don’t really eat a lot. That was a lie. But you can probably tell.
I did it because I ran out of coffee, and the flowers were too blue. As I came to the window and lifted the glass I saw that she was already there. Smiling at me like she’d been waiting all this time for me to wave. The wood was cold through my stockings and legs stark white stuck out into the night. The bird was warm and hiccupped in my hands. She laughed as I let it go, it twisted up, away. Then we stopped laughing and stared, each in the same mirror. She looked down to the paving stones. I felt yellow and heavy and empty. But she looked light – born with wings. I stretched by legs out further, lifted myself by my arms and felt the wind through me.
I was there – tips to the night, but then a light went on in the flat opposite and a man appeared in the window. He had white hair and was wearing a duffle coat. I was distracted by watching him opening his window because he did it so desperately, then his arms started wailing and he was calling. I don’t know why I stopped, I don’t know. (beat) I haven’t done it.
Now that man comes to the window most nights and smiles at me. But sometimes, when all his lights are off, I see the girl. I see that she wants to fly, and when it rains I come to the ledge. (She holds out her hand) Let the rain run through my hands. (pulls her hand to her mouth and smiles with a little hiccup).