The Open Window

April 17, 2012

Dear Diary

We had quite the “scorcher” yesterday: hot, humid, hazy. We left the windows open last night lest we dissolve into a sweaty puddle and evaporate into nothingness overnight. April weather is generally very unsettled, so it was no surprise to wake up absolutely freezing the next morning. As I went to close the window, the wind was blowing in, making the curtain flap wildly. A smell, faintly familiar, coursed through the opening. It sparked a memory, long ago.

I remember that smell. I smelled it almost 40 years ago. I was sitting in a classroom. My desk was the in the middle of the room, the second row away from the windows. OH how I wanted a window seat in school, but never got one. I wasn’t as quick and competitive as the other children so I usually got a desk in the back or nearest the classroom door. But THAT year, I’d gotten a row ONE REMOVED from the windows. Oh, the glory!

I think we school kids were doing “silent reading” (remember that?) or perhaps working on a worksheet. The teacher had opened the window (this was back before kids were pampered with air conditioning!) and the fresh breezes blew in. The custodian was mowing the vast lawn somewhere outside. The smell and the breeze just about drove me bananas. I WANT TO GO OUTSIDE!!!!

It was tough. TOUGH. I loved the outside. It took every ounce of self control to remain sitting on that pocked slab of uncomfortable wood in that ugly pale green and gray classroom. I remember feeling that dark discontent, like a hard stone in my breast, realizing I had to control myself and not run out of that classroom into the glorious outdoors. I had never been to the principal’s office for bad behavior (unlike my brothers!) and I wasn’t about to do so. But OHHH the agony of sitting in that chair!

Such a flood of reminiscence in such a brief instant, by simply closing my bedroom window.

Memories are funny.

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4 Responses to “The Open Window”

  1. Beth Says:

    I remember feeling so clearly – except it was always during Physics lab in college. The lab looked out over an expanse of lawn called “The Grotto” where my more fortunate classmates would spend warm afternoons sunbathing and playing Frisbee. It was tough to stick it out in that lab!

  2. Rebecca Says:

    Hi, Beth!

    Physics lab?!?! I never got past Earth Science, lol. I greatly admire your superior stamina!

  3. lin Says:

    Oh, I STILL get that itch! I sit outside to eat my lunch when I’m at work. It’s just so hard to be in a cubicle with no window to open or to even look out of. Ugh.

  4. Susi Says:

    I love the small of fresh mowed grass. It’s almost sweet and just begs you to head outside. Isn’t it amazing how something as simple as a certain smell or scent brings back memories?