When you’re out walking you can allow yourself to be moved by the smell of roses, or to feel a twinge of pain at the sight of a lamp by a familiar-looking couch, or to feel as if you’ve entered a story when dusk falls and the streetlights across the bay twinkle through the fog, without realising how far you’ve descended or that if you go on much further you may never come back. But you always turn around at the right moment and return through the same streets, under lights dimmed by rich, dreary foliage. And, mounting the stairs, you find the same carpet and wallpaper and fixtures that you saw in a dozen windows along the way, and know that you’ve brought all the dust of the outer world into your own enclave. In a few minutes the rooms will have settled and become what they were to you, and yet for days afterward the window will let in a view that is hostile, with trees and houses that know your secrets better, and interpret them to their own advantage.
First published in Tigertail 2006 and Best of Tigertail 2007