Once there was a little girl who lived with her father in a flat many stories above the ground. He would work each day but she didn’t go to school. She stayed at home and played in her little room, no one knew she was there, or the government might have come and taken her from her father for not sending her to school. Every day after work her father would come home and cook himself a meal, and the little girl would eat whatever was left over and then clean the kitchen.
After dinner her father would sit in his lounge chair in his lounge room watching his television and drinking his beer and smoking his ciggarrettes until late, late in the evening he would fall asleep until his wristwatch alarm woke him up, still in his chair, to go off to work. The little girl was not allowed in lounge room, and after dishes had to go to her room.
Her father never spoke to her, except to tell her to clean the dishes, or to go to her room, the only kindness that he ever showed her was the books he bought her, every week, from the second hand stall by the pub where he bought his weekly slabs of beer.
The little girl could not remember how she had learned to read, when she would try she would find herself overwhelmed and crying, so she didn’t think about it, she simply read. Her father mostley bought childrens books, many of them too childish for her now, as she could read quite well, but occasionally, when the stall had no picture books, then he would buy whatever was there, and the little girl would get to read real stories.
During the day her faterh would lock the door to their flat so that she could not get out and no one could get in, only with a key, that he kept in his pocket, and so the little girl could not get out, she could only look through the windows down onto the street from the lounge, which she would do almost every minute that her father was at work. On the weekends, and in the evenings and night, she would read, and dream about what she read, Dr Seuss, Dickens, The Berinstien Bears and Jane Austin, even Radclyffe Hall.
One day, while she sat at the window in the lounge and looked down at the street she saw a boy standing in the street, looking up at her, she must have moved her hed or leaned forward, because the boy suddenly waved at her. The little girl ran to her bedroom and sat in her bed until her father came home, hearing the key turn in the door and his feet in the entranceway was like finally landing from a high fall.
She could hear when father had finished his tea when he slammed the fridge door and opened his can, and as he lowered himself into his chair she scurried past to the kitchen, alowing him to see that she was at her task without him having to shout, but with her back to him, so that he did not have to look at her face, he sometimes got angry when they looked at each other.
Washing the dishes that evening her mind was plagued by the boy on the street. She could not remember interacting with anyone except her father for as far back as her mind would go. No one ever looked up at the flats, at least not more than to glance at them, yet this boy had been looking right at her, she had not even seen him, when her eye found him, he was already looking up at her! And then he waved!
That night she could not sleep, nor even concentrate on the pages of her books. She tossed and turned, she feared a nameless fear, and hungered to see that boy again, and this time to wave back at him, and, and she knew not what else.
The next day was the weekend, so that she could not leave her room, and she paced and slept fitfully and reorganised the piles of old books that cluttered the space until she heard rattling in the kitchen and knew that soon she would be called. When it came the shout was hoarse, weekends where worse than weekdays, and she went straingt away, walking throough the lounge the windows loomed at her like they had their own gravity, she was drawn to them but they where across the room, past his cahir and his tv, so she could see nothing throu them but sky from her side of the room, and then she was in the kitchen, chewing her food as she arranged the dishes on the sink.
The next day was the same, but her excitement grew nonetheless as the day wore on and the time approached when her father would leave for work. She did not sleep that night.
When the door slammed that morning she exploded from her room like a mouse from a crack in the wall and raced to the window, sticking her face to the glass and looking down to the spot where the boy had been.
He was not there. People walked pass, cars drove up and down, crowds milled for the bus, but the boy was not there. The little girl peered down at the people walking by, scanning each one, desperatly searching for the boy who had waved to her. He was not there.
He was not there again the next day, and the next, and the whole week passed without him.
The little girl stopped reading, and would sit in her room and stare at the wall, replaying in her mind the boy and his wave, cursing herself for not waving back, and every week day she would sit at the window, and every day he was not there.