Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Now that we've had a cold snap in Florida – that is, now that it's in the sixties at night and only the eighties in the day (and with little humidity at that) – our windows are open. That means fresh air wafts through the rooms, stirring up fairy-light clumps of cat hair, which drift, carefree, until they tangle with others under the legs of the toy piano or line up together against the couch. That means I can sit in the library (shown above) and hear the furious and incessant squawking of a bird of some sort. With the windows closed, I might hear that, but it wouldn't catch my attention. Now it does, and it sounds almost like rusty machinery, which makes me think of Sarah Thee Campagna's robots (CyberCraftRobots.com), and I wonder what they sound like when they talk (not that they'd do it in front of humans – not yet).

There are other birds who sound more birdlike, chirping and tweeting, and it sounds like Spring again.

I can hear the little pond that Shreeram and Rebecca brought over to me. So far, I've only heard its tiny fountain splashing when I've been outside, but now the outside is in and I think I live in a Disney forest. Wait. Woods. A Disney woods. I believe "forests" are evil, and there's no evil here. It's all sweet breeze and cute squirrels, last-minute bees sipping at last-minute blooms.

And here's another thing. Sunday night, I was awakened at midnight by the sounds of lovemaking. It was my neighbors to the west. There's a tall fence and a lot of foliage between us and I almost never think of them. But now that the windows are open, I realize that we're only twelve, maybe fourteen feet apart.

First it was him, all rhythmic and grateful and urgent. Then it was her, high-pitched and yearning. I lay there expecting a denouement, but then it was him again, the same as before, only more so. It eventually ended, of course, and I could hear gasps and then quiet conversation and chuckles, and I felt happy for everyone – even myself. What a wonderful thing love is! And sex! Separately or together – how nice!

These people are my age, and I just turned sixty-one. She's fat and floozy-looking. I've only seen her in shorts caught up into a V between her legs, huge breasts fighting against a tight tank top, flip-flopping down the street calling for her white fluffy but matted dog. She herself has hair that's far too black. The guy across the street always yells at her for not safekeeping her dog, and she responds with a barroom growl. The husband is handsome in a broken, unhealthy sort of way, with the chronic cough of a smoker who quit too late.

But in the night, when it's cool and the windows are open, and the birds have settled and the fountain burbles, they sound young and in love and perfectly beautiful.