The shop across the street is an antiques and oddities store. They sell old clocks and hand carved occasional tables and Bosson heads. Curio cabinets are filled with statuettes of southern belles and Cheshire cats. Persian rugs hang in the windows, showing decades of traffic and wear. The sign above the door reads UNJUNKABLES, but only when all the letters are lit.
The late afternoon breeze brought a chill to the air. He slides off his bed, limp and weak from hours of laying still, and he steps lightly to his window. Using all his strength he closes the pane, blocking the wind and cutting the sound of the cars below.
He pulls his chair from his desk to his window, careful not to scrape the floor too loudly. His mother is asleep, recovering from one and readying herself for another night of work. He’s always very careful not to wake his mom and she rewards him for it with unending love.
On his chair, at his window, he sits and watches. From where he sits, he sets his sights on a girl. A girl about his age, dressed in blue jeans and sneakers and hooded pink sweater. Petal pink, just like her cheeks. Her straight blonde hair keeps blowing in her face and she’s struggling to keep up with her grown up. Probably her mom. She stops to move the hair from her eyes, but her mom keeps walking. She should be holding her mom’s hand, he thinks. Someone might steal her. His mom taught him that. “Hold onto my hand, otherwise someone might think you’re too cute and steal you for themselves,” she used to say, back when they would walk these streets together.
His warm breath steams up the cool window, so he draws a face. His face. He knows he shouldn’t be drawing on the window because he’ll smudge it all up, but he does it anyway. Just a little bit. He draws his face the way he remembers it. Two eyes and a smile. That’s not the way it looks now, but it’s how himself in the window can look.
He peers through the two eye holes he’s drawn and finds the girl again. Her mom has gone into UNJUNKABLES and left her to sit on a chair outside shaped like a hand. He never liked that chair. He imagines it would make its sitter feel very small and he already feels small enough. The girl is swinging her legs, much like he does when they’re dangling from his bed. One and two and three and four. He wonders if she likes counting, too.
He begins nodding his head in time to the rhythm she’s created with her feet. She stops waving her feet, leans forward and looks up to his window. She cocks her head to one side and frowns. He mirrors her, reflexively. She smiles a small, cautious smile and sits back, swinging her legs again.
He wants to know her name. He wants to show her his planes. He wishes they could bounce on his bed and play Miss Mary Mack like he used to with his mom. He would show her how to fold a classic dart in whatever paper she chooses.
He begins to raise his hand to wave to her when her mom comes out of the store and reaches for her hand. She takes it, hops down from the palm of the chair, and glances up to him one last time before they walk away. She smiles again and with her free hand, she waves goodbye. He doesn’t know her name, but he waves bye back.
For what it’s worth, his name is Sam. He is 8 years old and he shares this view with his paper planes.