Thursday, 31 July 2008

Please don't look in

It's gone now. The sign. When I walked past the house last night in a cool breeze that pulled crinkled brown leaves from the trees, I slowed down again. I tried not to look beyond the dry skeletons of geraniums that needed dead heading. But I remembered the neat and sparsely furnished living room that looks out into the shadows of the street. A room that looks un-lived in.

The first time I saw the notice, someone was standing behind it, blocking my view. There was a woman there with beautiful red curls, curls like those I always wished for as I ate my breakfast crusts. I had seen people slowing down and pausing beside her tiny garden as they walked home from the station and I paused too, and read the words but carried on walking when our eyes met. 

I wondered what her real intention was, what was the impulse behind her sitting down to type out those words - "Please don't look in", and placing the sign in the middle of her bay window. And I wondered about what she made of the reaction those words prompted, because despite what her words said, they invited us all to be pulled into her fish bowl world and to be curious about it.

Without the sign, her home is just another one in the sunny terrace again. Unmemorable, it's hard to guess which of several nondescript houses it could be, unless you look in of course!