{\rtf1{\info{\title Magic Window}{\author Robert F.

Young}}\ansi\ansicpg1252\def f0\deflang1033 {\fonttbl{\f0\froman\fprq2\fcharset128 Times New Roman;}{\f1\froman\fprq2\fchars et128 Times New Roman;}{\f2\fswiss\fprq2\fcharset128 Arial;}{\f3\fnil\fprq2\fcha rset128 Arial;}{\f4\fnil\fprq2\fcharset128 MS Mincho;}{\f5\fnil\fprq2\fcharset12 8 Tahoma;}{\f6\fnil\fprq0\fcharset128 Tahoma;}} {\stylesheet{\ql \li0\ri0\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\ fcs1 \af25\afs24\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \fs24\lang1033\langfe255\cgrid\langnp1033 \langfenp255 \snext0 Normal;} {\s1\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel0\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\af0\afs32\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\fs32\lang1033 \langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon15 \ snext16 \slink21 heading 1;} {\s2\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel1\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\ai\af0\afs28\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\i\fs28\lan g1033\langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedo n15 \snext16 \slink22 heading 2;} {\s3\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel2\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\af0\afs28\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\fs28\lang1033 \langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon15 \ snext16 \slink23 heading 3;} {\s4\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel3\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\ai\af0\afs23\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0\b\i\fs23\lang 1033\langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon 15 \snext16 \slink24 heading 4;} {\s5\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel4\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\af0\afs23\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\fs23\lang1033 \langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon15 \ snext16 \slink25 heading 5;} {\s6\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel5\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\af0\afs21\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\fs21\lang1033 \langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon15 \ snext16 \slink26 heading 6;}} MAGIC{\s1 \afs32 {\b WINDOW\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ {\b By ROBERT F. YOUNG}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ {\i By what strange magic could an ordinary window reflect the beauty in the soul} { \i of a lonely girl? }\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ I DON'T know which was the more improbable\u8212?the girl or her painting. Of a ll the artists displaying their wares at the sidewalk exhibit, she was the only one with but a single canvas. She stood beside it timidly, as though afraid some one would stop and make fun of it\u8212?or, as though afraid no one would stop a t all. In a way, she looked like a child, with her odd blue eyes and her sunny h air (one lock of which the April wind had playfully tumbled down upon her forehe ad); a charming and undernourished child playing grown-up in a blue artist's smo ck and an absurd beret. As for her painting\u8212? Well, try to imagine a vast m eadow rolling away to low, lavender hills. Now scatter a handful of small lakes over the meadow and sprinkle them liberally with starlight. Now raise your eyes. The first thing you'll see is a line of exotic mountains capped with starlit sn ow, and then you'll behold a sky so crammed with stars \u8212? blue ones, white ones, red ones, yellow ones\u8212?that there's no room left for darkness. \par\p ard\plain\hyphpar}{ Now think of the title\u8212? {\i Meadow Lakes by Starlight} ... \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{

"And\u8212?and the meadow and the lakes?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "And the mountains. My usual glibness had forsaken me. It was a long morning an d a bad one. and the offi ce of my next customer. too\u8212?a quality that made dishonesty impossible. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "I've got to be getting along. an ethereal girl in an ill-fitting artist's smock. I'll pr obably say the word shortly. Art is not my cup of tea. The butchers and the ba kers aren't so bad." I said. Perhaps I'll be accep ted into the local order of the Masons. alone beneath that vast. Do you think I'm blind?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "So many people are. I met Mildred at no on and we lunched together in an out-of-the-way. . I see them. and he's told me s everal times that he'll be glad to place me in his sales department any time I s ay the word. I knew what the trouble was\u8212? \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ That damned painting! \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Everywhere I looked. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Over and over again \u8230?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ . like quick clouds over blue patch es of sky." I stared at her. It's a pension check and an insurance annuity and a Series E savings bond \u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Or so I tell myself."You\u8212?you {\i do} see them. "I'm afraid not. but a bit too earnest for comfort. restauran t. "Why. \par\pard\plain\hy phpar}{ I don't believe I've ever witnessed anyone's eyes become so bright as hers did. Especially the candlestick makers. I mean. Her eyes were disarming enough." \par\pard\plain\h yphpar}{ "But they think like people who do. Mildred is the girl I'm going to marry. As the salary he mentions by far exceeds my present income. Her father is a prominent shoestring manufacturer. muttered a little "G'by" and walked away. She's a fine girl and comes from a fi ne family. . both in the way she spoke and in the way she loo ked at me." I said. perhaps. I to uched my hat. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "It\u8212?it frightens me a little. "Well." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Do\u8212?do you like my painting?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ There was a desperate quality. and on winter nights we'll watch TV. I stood there a while longer." I wasn't aware that I'd paused. of course. or take in the latest movie. But there was another quality present. and now that I couldn't. but very respectable. don't you? The stars." I said. impossible sky ." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Her lashes fluttered once over her blue eyes. and perhaps a little set in our ways. Then:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "That's all right. wondering what to do. for some illogical re ason. A little stodgy. They can see a little. and maybe Mildred will become an Eastern Star .. or visits your backyard once in a blue moon." I'd been about t o say just that. I saw it\u8212?the meadow. But the candlestick makers can't see anything at all. as though a significant moment had come and passed. there was nothing else I could say. "Please don't say you're sorry. We're going to buy a ranch-style house in the sub urbs and raise children and plant arborvitae and juniper and dwarf pine. It's a house and a new car and the sense of being one with your fello w men. too . or go for a spin in the country. and I got no more than standard orders from the first two customers I called on. And my mi nd had added to the original: there was a girl walking on the meadow now\u8212?a girl with thin cheeks and off-key blue eyes. nothing from the third. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ I'm sure we'll be very happy. the lakes. Summer evenings we'll have backyard barbecues. I'm sure we'll be very happy. and the only reason I'd been walking through the exhibit was because it stood between the parking lot where I'd left my car. Finally.... They see like them." she said. but happine ss isn't something that flies with the night. feeling. the stars." \par\pard\plain\hyphpa r}{ "The {\i candlestick} makers! People don't make candlesticks any more. and that I had lived t hrough it like some dull clod totally unable to grasp its context. by the time middle-age catches up with us.

and I k new I was hopelessly late for my date with Mildred. \par\pard\plain\hyph par}{ But I did nothing of the sort. The brightness came into her eyes again." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar} { "I'm Hal . I detoured around to the street where I 'd seen the art exhibit that morning." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Not so odd. But she let it go at that. Her face was blue with cold when I pulled up in the no parking zone.Mildred was her usual poised self at lunch. wanted advice on how best to turn down a p articularly hard alloy into a newly-designed camshaft which he intends to put in to production. \par\pard\pl ain\hyphpar}{ It wasn't over. and this time it was accompanied by hope. \par\pard\plain\hy phpar}{ "What's your name?" I asked. I solved his problem for him. . too. Not quite. mentioning the painting would have involved mentioning the girl. her cheeks thi nner than ever. I pu lled out my cigarettes and we lit up over our second coffees. Hal? You're worried about somet hing. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Five dollars." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Did you have dinner?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ She shook her head. I knew perfectly well that the show must have been over hours ago." \ par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Blue isn't the word for it. . Not onl y that. Do you do much painting?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Not any more." she said." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ I considered telling her about the painting." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "April. this is one of them." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "It's worth twenty. even a broad-minded. \par\pard\pl ain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ I had to drive out to Addle-bury that afternoon: a steady customer of mine. really. It was a completely illogical thing to do. " {\i Take Meadow Lakes by} {\i . So I said: "Didn't you ever hear of blue Mondays? Well. It was 7:15 by the time we finished eating. It was almost 6:30 by the t ime I got back to the city." she said. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ I got out of the car and walked over to where she was standing. I was due to pick up Mildred at 7:00." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ I took her to a diner I'd passed several blocks back. said all the proper things. she gave me that all-knowing look from beneath he r arched eyebrows. "I'm not very hungry. I didn't care. though. One artist still remained." I pulled the bill out of my billfold and handed it to her. She was rolling up the painting. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Let's have a bite anyway. and som ehow I couldn't bear the thought of exposing her to Mildred's feminine scrutiny. The bright colors of Meadow Lakes by Starlight flashed bravely i n the last slanted rays of the sun. but I knew I'd be wasting my time." I repeated. but I cou ld hardly expect her to understand something I didn't understand myself. and received a gratifying order for my trouble. "That's an odd name. "Didn't\u8212?didn't anyone else ask to buy it?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "No. Lots of girls are named 'April'. Somehow. I thoug ht I was my usual self. who operates a small machine shop there. and said: "What's the matter. The market keeps shrinking every year. One painting. and I should have headed straight for my hotel for a change and a shower." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar} { "Maybe your work's too farfetched for the average person. person. I was so mad that my hands were trembling." I said." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "All right. "How much is it?" I asked. and that I was saying all the proper things. Not that Mildred isn't an understanding. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "April. till. using one of our Supercutter tungst ens. and both of us had steak and French fries and coffee. just after I'd paid the check. Instead. No one even stopped\u8212?except you. Presently she handed it to me.

" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ So there we were. maybe. I didn't expect to see a meadow with sta rlit lakes\u8212?I'm not that pedestrian. and a kitchen and a bathroom. and I followed suit. It was a sad kitchen. and then I reminded myself that she wasn't young at all." She leaned over the sink and unfastened the catch and threw the doors wide. then." she said. and yet I couldn't. "I'll take you home. anything at all on whi . When I continued to hesitate. that she was as old. The single window was above th e sink. . I didn't know what to say." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ She lived in a tall. . an antediluvian refrigerat or. "Yes. . 303. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "And what's the matter with TV?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "It's a medium for candlestick makers. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ I looked over her shoulder. She drank her beer out of t he bottle. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Yes. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar} { She got two bottles of beer out of the refrigerator. Roome ttes would be a more appropriate term. A cramped little stove. a little shyly." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ I remembered my high school Keats. I noticed her easel. When she asked me if I'd care to come in for a few minutes. A small parlor." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ She nodded solemnly." I should have said "on earth . Hal?" Her question was innocently direct. and led me into the k itchen. and a magazine every now and then. a beat-up table and chairs. opening on the foam of perilous seas}. I raise d my eyes to the window. The dampness of the spring night crept into the room. No. gaunt apartment house on a street lined with similar struc tures. " {\i Magic casements. Mildred was undoubtedly mad at me already. \par\pard\plai n\hyphpar}{ "Come on. Despite her little-girl appearance. I call mine 'The Magic Ca sement'. for the life of me. "Keats knew. propped against the w all beside the sink. then. There were four rooms. I can see just about anything from my kitchen ette window. You could see just about anything from {\i your} window too\u8212?if you looked hard enough . practically." I said. Naturally. and opened outward like a pair of French doors. a bedroom. for instance. " 'The Magic Casement'?" I asked. but I did expect to see a view of some kind\u8212?a narrow backyard. The earnestness in her eyes would have be en frightening if their cerulean cast hadn't tempered it. as I was. " \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "All right. " {\i in faery lands forelorn}. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "I should say not! About all I have time for these days is the paper every morn ing. back. "Yes. she was a long way from being a little girl. or a distant park . } Do you read much poetry.Starlight}. . put her into the category where you usually put women who make such invitations on such short acquaintanc es. I was mildly shocked that so young a person should have beer in her refr igerator." she said. She took my coat and hung it over a chair. {\i We have given our hearts} {\i away ." I quoted." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "You\u8212?you don't live here in the city. opened them and handed one to me. \par\pard\plain\hyphp ar}{ She nodded. a few more minu tes' delay wouldn't make my reception any chillier. So did Wo rdsworth. and it was the one object in the room that wasn't mean and ugly\u8212?pr obably for no better reason than the fact that it was a double window with small panes. to where we'd started from. It's just the view from my kitchenette wi ndow. and possibly even older. she said." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "I don't think that one's farfetched." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Just so you don't watch TV. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ April's apartment was on the third floor. "I'll show you 'The Magic Casement'. probably. I live here sometimes . a cast-iron sink. and her palette and brushes lying on the sideboard. ." I said. ." It would have been more appropriate.

all I saw were bricks." Then. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ I forced myself to walk the rest of the way around the car. half to herse lf. the street was filled with cars\u8212? \par\pard\plain\ hyphpar}{ But she was completely alone. It was the last day of the month. golden trees. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ She opened the door for me. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ She was so thin she seemed tenuous. The palms of my hands were moist. I forced myself to open the door. "I can't help it if I'm normal!" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "But I can help you to see. " she said. and I could feel th e prickling of cold sweat on my forehead. to run after her and stop her. were enormous. "I'm never coming back again. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ I saw her only once after that. Hal. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Again. lined with lilies of the valley ." she said. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ She had followed me in from the kitchen. I {\i know} I can!" She stepped close to me and gripped my lapels with taut fingers.. "Don't let them swallow you up. engulfed by t he crowd and the darkness. and the blue in them had darkened to the c olor of an April sky before a sudden storm. There were shadows beneath her eyes . I shook my head and turned away. Her blue eyes were so intense they frightened me. Somehow. "Never . then quickly looked away. There were scores o f people all around her." she said. and nestled among the trees is a silver house with azure shutters. hoping desperately that t he window {\i would} prove to be a "Magic Casement" instead of just a convenient means for rat ionalizing hallucinations. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ She gave a little sigh. A moment later she was gone. ." Hal. \par\pard\plain\hyphpa r}{ I was struck\u8212?shocked. "I see a river. in fact\u8212?by her aloneness. Ther e are golden trees growing on the farther bank. "Try. no matter what their facts and figures say\u8212?and I c an help you to see it. and Mildred a nd I had driven uptown to attend the midnight show. a pebbled path . when I glanced up and saw her coming down the street. . unreal. And I did try. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ April was regarding me intently. Less than ten feet from the open window. She was wearing a faded jacket and an indifferent skirt . Utterly alone. "I've got to be goin g. "Thank you for buying my dinner\u8212?for buying my pain ting. There {\i is} magic in the world. the kitchen light formed a yellow rectangle on the brick wall of the next apartment house. Hal. But you've got to {\i believe} in me!" I gripped her wrists till her fingers loosened their grip on my lapels. Her bare legs were pale flickerings in the darkness . H er eyes. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ She looked right at me when she passed. She did not look like a child any more: she looke d like a tired old woman.ch a slightly unstable person might base a fantasy such as the painting I had ju st purchased. I saw the disapp ointment come into her eyes just before she dropped them. . I gave Mildred my arm when she stepped out. Don't let them turn you into a carbon copy of everybody else. What do you see?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar} { "Bricks. The storm in her eyes had blown over." I said. I found myself wishing that I {\i would} see a river. ." I said." I said. A pebbled path winds down to the river bank. I had just got out of the ca r and was walking around to the curb. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Why should you expect me to see something when there's nothing there to see?" I said. "Good-by. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ I saw nothing of the sort. "A blue river. . taking their blueness with it.. hollows in her cheeks. Will you promise to hang it over your mantel after you are married and not let your children throw darts at it?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "I promise. I wanted to c all out to her. My arm was all I coul . Then I went into the parlor and picked up my coat. But her name froze in my throat a nd my feet turned into lumps of clay." I lied. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Good-by. upturned now. it made me an gry. .

I didn't want to take her in at first be cause she didn't have any luggage. May 1. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ He wiped his chin on the paper napkin he'd carried to the door. he told me. Why.." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \u8212?and if you can't discredit it. Nothing's the matter. ." I said.. . fumbled with the catch." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "I see. But there was s omething about her . . \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ All I saw were bricks. . "About 11:30. Say. . You rationalize it. finally shoved b ack the retractible top. "No . \par\pard\plain\ hyphpar}{ It was like the coach turning into a pumpkin and the footmen becoming white mic e. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{\s1 \afs32 {\b THE END\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } } . \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "What time did she check out?" I asked." There was a large calendar hanging on the opposite wall and I automati cally glanced at the date.. He pulled the book\u8212?a tattered ledger with a soile d cover\u8212?from the top drawer. but the girl I was looking for had checked out the night before. but her enchantment\u8212?to the ex tent she had been able to use it on a denizen of a world that had forgotten wond erment\u8212?was just as effective as the faery-godmother's\u8212?and just as ep hemeral. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ May 1 \u8230?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ It was one of those crazy thoughts that you have sometimes\u8212?so crazy that you try to discredit it immediately so that the world can return to its natural balance\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Could\u8212?could you tell me what day she checked in?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpa r}{ "I'll have to look in my book. I realized that I was sweating \u8230?\par\pard\plain\ hyphpar}{ "Here it is\u8212?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "She checked in March thirty-first . Then I thought of the painting. It was nearly midnight and it was raining and she was wearing a blue rainc oat with flowers painted on the collar. When my knock on No. I rationalized it all the way back to my room. . and I did something I'd lacked the courage to do the night before\u8212?I took it out of the closet wher e I'd hidden it. Thanks\u8212?thanks for your trou ble . is something the matter?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar} { "No. My mind was somewhere on a vast meadow where a lonely girl walked am ong starlit lakes . \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ It was late the next afternoon before I got a chance to stop by the gaunt apart ment house. I remember now. I di d a pretty good job. carried it over to the window and unrolled it. Supper s ounds came from the kitchen and the whole apartment smelt of onions and fried po tatoes and something else I couldn't identify.d give her. I thought at first that I' d blundered into the wrong building. began thumbing carefully through it. and the world was just about back to where it belonged when I opened my door. too. you do the only other thing you {\i can} do. but the landlord apprised me otherwise when I went back down the three flights of stairs and interrupted his evening meal. 303 went unanswered. A TV speaker blared uninterrupted ly from an adjacent room.. The ghost of April hadn't carried a wand. You know how it is sometimes." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ He went over to an old-fashioned desk. She got us out of bed. I had the right apartment house.

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