As I sit, tired and drowsy, at my desk in my apartment at 6:15 a.m on a grey drizzly wednesday morning after having dropped off my wife at the railway station, I'm wondering whether time actually moves faster when you are asleep. It appears to have been only a couple of hours earlier that yesterday ended, and today has already begun.
Just as I am pondering the wisdom of taking an early morning swig of beer in order to jumpstart my lethargic brain cells, I happen to glance outside my window, through the rain, at the house across the street. It is dark and peaceful and hints of people ensconced in a deep slumber. I know, from my observations that it is the home of a very tiny, very old lady, who lives alone. The only time I see her is on sunday morning when she comes out of her house to clip the hedge outside her window. Which is strange, because it is usually the maintenance folk who perform this task. Perhaps she is just paranoid, I wonder, of someone jumping out at her from behind the hedge after she returns from a day of grocery shopping. In the short period of time I have been living in this apartment, I have never seen her have any visitors. She does not own a car, and that is a bit of good fortune for me because I get to keep her parking space. The number of parking spaces is very limited in this apartment complex. But that is beside the point.
So, as I am looking out of my window, gazing at the silent house and weighing the pros and cons of stepping outside in the rain to throw out my trash (which has turned funky during the night), a light on the second floor abruptly turns on. After a while, the light in the stairway turns on, and by and by, the first floor of the house lights up. From this sequence of events, I deduce that the old lady just woke up, waddled down the stairs and is now occupying the first floor of the house.
Soon, the front door opens and the old lady comes out, attired in immaculate rain gear (it is raining pretty heavily now) and stands on her doorstep. And she just stands there. My curiousity is piqued. She appears to be looking at the sky. She looks left, then looks right, all the while looking above. I wonder if she is going to start dancing around the lamp post, "singing in the rain". But it's 6:30 a.m, it is raining, and she is old. I discard the idea.
Then, suddenly, I hear a honking sound. I look up through my window and I see a flock of birds, geese to be precise, fly by. It is quite a large number of birds, and they are flying pretty low, just about at my roof level. I glance at the old woman and she is enthralled, watching the birds with considerable interest. Even after the birds are gone, she still stands there. Then, after a while, another flock comes by, even larger and honkier than the first. This batch of birds receives the same rapt attention as did the previous one. Once this flock leaves and the air is silent again, she opens her front door and waddles back inside. The door closes behind her. Then, the lights in her house turn on and off in a reverse sequence. Soon, the house is again dark and peaceful.
The old lady is asleep.