The Watcher (the beginning of a story?)



“High on a hill was a lonely goatherd…..”

It is nearing midnight in my north Toronto apartment.  Looking out at the other buildings nearby, room lights are slowly being extinguished like stars behind the cool crisp clouds of a new winter’s night.  Over the past few weeks, I have taken pleasure in imagining and creating the lives belonging to each light, beginning with the nearest few.  It is rare that I ever see anything or anyone move, but the kinds of lights themselves bring thoughts to mind of decor and complementing personalities.

Nearest to me is my parallel neighbour, a fellow eleventh-storey pair who are not afraid of spies.  Their living area and, further back, their kitchen, are as visible as can be.  Often they stay up until midnight, when, I am afraid, most of my other stars disappear.  Until then, I might be fortunate to catch a glimpse of one person moving about, setting a table, or entering the kitchen.  From here, it appears their walls are undecorated and only the standard light chandelier fixture above the living room table illuminates the scene.

Further up and to my right, a smaller window stays lit well into the night.  Often, as I stay up late, I will glance out to my stars for mind-clearing inspiration, and note that only that one window is left with a bold bright light.  And bold it is!  It seems to be only a table lamp, but warms the room behind it in daisy yellow.  Once, I thought I saw the telltale signs of a couple engaging in near-window activities, but not having actually seen the other person, it remains unverified.

One floor above him (as I imagine it to be a male’s apartment), and centred again in the frame of the building, another living room chandelier blazes starkly against the ceiling.  I do not remember this room, but the curtains appear to be mostly drawn, giving the room an icy feel equal to an uninhabited castle in winter.  I imagine it could be the site of a grotesque murder, or the nearly abandoned workroom of a deranged eccentric novelist.

Two storeys up, a pair of rooms, seeming both to be living rooms, are vaguely lit somewhere in their depths, giving a visual tableau that could be likened to a yellow-green sunrise over a stormy sea.  A person just appeared, and sat down, while someone else could be seen in the right room just before their half of the storm portrait faded quickly to black.

One floor above them and to the right — almost as far as my copulating male star — there is a single dot of light emanating from the lower right-hand corner of the window.  Initially, when I first saw it, I thought it was a candle, but I now realize it is far too steady, and I imagine it must be a night-light of sorts, as it does not ever seem to get turned off.  Another lighting oddity is one level up, just cut off from view by my balcony roof.  If I crouch lower, I can see a central living room drowning in a sickly green-blue hue.  No lamp, no decor, not even any blinds can be seen — just a ghostly palor bright in its top-lefthand corner, darkening with distance all the way to the lower right side, where haunts a shadow vaguely resembling an elderly person hunched over in a chair.  The room could be a laboratory or a morgue, but one thing is certain: it does not befit the designation of a “living room”.





Copyright L.M. 2009.


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