Wouldn’t it be interesting if instead of writing our signatures, we were called upon to “sign” our names with a simple drawing of our choice? An image that represents us more accurately than an assemblance of letters? I know exactly what my drawing would be. A woman looking through a window.
In my mind, I carry so many snapshots, from over the years, of me looking through windows.
Through years of an abusive first marriage, I watched life scroll past the front window of my house. Everyone, it seemed, was going somewhere, but I remained fear-frozen in my circumstance. I nursed mugs of hot tea and stared out at the street. How did it all come to this? While my partner spewed menace in other rooms, I withdrew to my spot in front of the sill and hoped for restorative moments. If I squinted hard enough, maybe I could conjure a belief in life beyond those four walls. The possibilities I saw there emboldened me to leave with my children and take up a new life.
The windows of my new apartment afforded a wider view of the world. I’d deliver pep talks to my reflection in the glass. Often, I recited John Quincy Adam’s quote which I’d read in a novel. “I am a warrior, so that my son may be a merchant, so that his son may be a poet.” The words fit although Adam’s personal principles did not.
One day while gazing through a window I saw my Eric, the love of my life, the truest friend I’ve ever known. For the past quarter century, we’ve been looking out of windows together. We dream together. While our children were growing up, I loved nothing better than to stand just inside a window to watch them play or, in later years, set off for school. They grew into brilliant humans of good character with lives of their own. Years later, my gaze turned toward nature and what I could wrought from the soil.
I am still a woman looking through a window. I stand up from my writing desk and stretch and look through the pine trees and across the fields, across the split-cedar-rail fence zigzagging through corn stubble. Instead of standing at the window hoping for the world to pull me outside, I look out to pull the world inside of me.
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“For all the novel features characters that are alone, it is a story driven by human connections (…) With vivid descriptions, natural dialogue and in-depth characterization, Tuinman compels us to look beyond the surface. The ending is triumphant.” –Historical Novel Society
“The environmental component is relevant to our times, the struggle to be heard over greed and ignorance and other people’s agendas is real. (…) This book would lend itself to be made into a movie.” ~ Canadian Author Association