Post image for Through Windows At Dusk

Through Windows At Dusk

by Nate St. Pierre on March 23, 2014

Walking through the neighborhood at dusk, on a chilly evening in late March.

With no one outside, the streets are silent, save the sound of my unhurried footsteps on the pavement. Lights are on in the homes I pass, a small daily rebellion against the coming of the night.

Clothed all in black, head down, with a monkish hood far over my face. Quietly approaching, I could be the personification of the very thing they fear. Because yes, we do still fear the dark.

They’ve turned on the lights, but not yet taken the time to shut the curtains, lock the doors, and button up the house for the night. From my vantage point outside, the scene is a muted, Rockwell-esque portrait of this American life. Nights like this are a book of short stories, with just a few moments to consider each one before moving on to the next.

With only this fleeting glimpse, the defining lines of each individual blur, and they become archetypes – representatives not only of their own stories, but of the millions of others just like theirs. The young mother and her child. Family laughter around the dinner table. An argument between a husband and wife. A solitary retiree reading in his chair. One house with the Christmas tree still lit, even on the verge of Spring.

The images slide into view, and just as easily slide away. I read their stories in the few moments they are open to me, and then move on to the next. Sometimes I learn something. Usually I do not.

One thing that’s true is what Tolstoy said in the opening line of Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Another true thing is that if you’re divorced, walking down this street will be painful.

Painful or not, it is peaceful. And that is something.

(Image source: loumurphy)

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