“WINDOWS”, a Texas Story by Lauren Withrow and Cameron Lee Phan.
It’s almost 7pm on a Wednesday night in Texas and the air is getting cooler. The minutes continue to rotate as the sun sinks further into the horizon. Our lungs feel weightless, filled with smoke, and our hearts grow heavier, filled with the weight of three years.
“I am so… happy for you.” I stutter. I look down at our feet, fooling myself to believe that this is going to be the last time we’ll ever feel this grounded. Before I say anything else, your head is already tilted down and your eyes now resemble the color of a sunset: red. Ipurse my lips, clench my eyebrows, and hold your head against my chest. The sky turns pink.
You want to smoke another cigarette and I reach for my car door to grab another American Spirit. Before I swing the door open, I glance through the reflection in the window and back at the sky.
We’ve shared many reflections, but this was a new one. This isn’t the reflection of telephone wires in Austin. It isn’t the reflection of gaudy, neon lights in Dallas. And this definitely isn’t the reflection of a scorching sun in the west coast. This reflection is a moment to pause before we move forward.
I sit in the driver’s seat to light up and I look through the window and back outside. The sky turns purple.
We sit on the curb, distracting ourselves from your one-way ticket. I take a drag and visualize a neighborhood in Brooklyn. I take another drag and I hear the screeching wheels of a subway train, brushing air against your hair like this Texas breeze. A few more drags and I watch you step into a New York City subway car. The sky turns blue.
Suddenly it’s hard for me to see you sit on this concrete curb when you belong behind those sliding doors… over bridges, through dark tunnels, and into a sea of new energy. We wash our hands clean in this final blue hour and I’m afraid to ask, “Is it time to go”?
It will never be “goodbye,” only “see you soon.” We depart to bathe in the moonlight before sunrise and Texas already feels different. When the sun reaches culmination, your new journey will have already begun. We will fight tears for smiles and smiles for new windows and new reflections. You will look out on the New York City skyline and I sure hope you open the window every once in a while to catch a breeze. It will be the same breeze you felt before you left. The breeze we felt at dusk, and in the mountains, and on the beach, and on this curb at 7pm. When you feel that breeze, know that it is strength. It is love. Feel it on your skin here. And feel it on your skin there. Real. Here, There.