Inspired by Marlaina Smith
“Loss on the Windowsill”
Fiction. Based on a True Windowsill of Mine.
by The Starry Teller
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
From a young age, we have a subconscious fear of loss. As children, we walk around with our favorite toys everywhere we go. Our small little hands, unable to clench tightly into fists, can barely wrap around our favorite dolls or toy trucks. Yet we suffocate our toys, in an attempt to hold tightly to them. Because of our limited dexterity, we sometimes lose our grips on our treasured items. They fall. We cannot pick them back up. Or we unknowingly drop them and do not realize their absence until it is too late. When we do begin to comprehend our loss, our initial reaction is to burst into tears. We cannot be comforted by the second best toy or even the promise of a replacement. Our subconscious fear becomes a fully conscious reality and we find solace only in our tears. As we age into adolescents and adults, we become familiar with the tragedy of loss. Our solution does not evolve; we hold to the same reaction of our childhood. For in a world of tangibility, sometimes the only cure for loss exists in the realm of the intangible.
Every person deals with the traumatic absence of some presence, in some way or another. When a child loses their favorite toy or moves away from their best friend, they grieve in their own ways. Some children throw tantrums; some cry; some completely revert into themselves. When we grow up, we learn to speak the language of our communities and the subtle unspoken languages that also exist therein. What we do not learn is how to better deal with loss. The subconscious fear never fully disintegrates into nothingness, and there is never an age at which we properly learn to speak the language of grief. For loss that takes the form of death, the grieving that ensues can embody denial or anger. We attempt to verbally bargain with ourselves, the past, or some higher being. But through it all, our words have no actual coherence. They exist somewhere between the realms of pain and the color music makes when it touches our eardrums. Because of this, it is often more effective to embrace the intangible and place loss on the windowsill, like flowers in jars.
Of course, we each have our own type of windowsill, just as we each deal with a different form of loss. For some of us, art is the windowsill we lay a painful breakup on top of. We open the window and wait for the clouds to rain down healing upon our paint-stained hands. For others, poetry is the windowsill we lay a disillusioned mind upon. We fall upon the sturdy opening in the wall, hindered from recovery only when the pen runs out of ink. For many of us, music is the windowsill upon which we spread the inability to cope with pain. The vibrant majors and solemn minors pull us from our prostrate sorrow onto our knees. That which we lay loss upon—art and poetry and music—does not always brings us to our feet, but it does not need to—for it is not a door, but a windowsill. Rather, we need only in our loss to find our way to our knees, that we may glance up, and see the light pouring through the pane.