Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In the wee small hours of the morning.

Wake up to the sound of trucks idling, the beeping sound they make when backing up, muffled voices. My window is open and I go to look and I can smell, distantly, smoke. Soon, flashlight beams in the backyards - from the roof of the building directly behind me? Voices, clearly, "fire."

One just said, "drop down?" to another. I hear their heavy steps on the fire escape across the way. What are they looking for or what have they found?

My window is open again and I'm not smelling the smoke. Are they looking for fire they can't see but can smell? The other option is that they are police and searching the backyards for someone who's escaped into them.

Radio static.

I want to go outside and around the block and see, but I don't want to at the same time.

There is a very high-pitched ringing in the distance. A smoke alarm? A sound from a fire truck?

Imagine block after block of brownstones and brick rowhouses. Behind them is open space, a grid of backyards walled in by the buildings. Like the yards in "Rear Window" only not as neatly visible. This is what my bedroom window faces.

Silence now, just the sound of the idling trucks. Windows formally lit are dark.

My upstairs neighbors are getting out of bed. (First, as always, the cat paws hitting the floor, and then the creaking of floorboards that indicates one of the humans. I love how the cat goes first - you know, when you are just waking up and stretching and your feet move and jostles the cat who wakes up.)

The last lit window in that building just went dark. I guess it's over.


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