‘If you had a wish what would you wish for?’ Jake asked. The usual suspects sprang to mind – world peace, the reversal of climate change, no more polar bears clinging desperately to melting ice floes, a cure for AIDS, the disarmament of all nuclear weapons, the bridging of the gap between rich and poor. Jake knows well my fondness for largesse, that if I had the cash at my disposal I would immediately appoint myself Chief Philanthropist to the World complete with cape and theme song like a character from a Marvell comic. ‘A wish just for you,’ he insisted. ‘Something you’ve always wanted.’
My grandmother had a window seat in her house on the second floor landing. It overlooked the garden. She used to do her sewing there and watch the squirrels scamper in the hawthorn trees. She could see her neighbour painting the plaster busts of Beethoven and JS Bach she made with the do-it-yourself plaster kits she got from the hobby store. Her other neighbour collected redcurrants in enormous straw baskets like an eighteenth century farmer. She turned them into jam which she gave to people on their birthdays.
If I had a window seat I would have lots of cushions – fancy ones with Medieval scenes like they have in the antique shops – and a book case on one side full of my favourites. I would read and watch the world as it rained, counting the drops as they fell on the glass, listening to them land as if fat were popping in a pan. The house would be quiet, except for the rain and the flutter of paper as I turned the pages. That window seat would be safe harbour. It would fill me with such joy to sit and read as the sky drifted in. If I only had a wish…..