It was high on a bluff in the middle of nowhere that I saw my first exit window. It was a quiet place; one I liked to visit to escape from the noise of spiteful brothers, an exhausted mother with more chores than time, and a frustrated father who came home tired and dirty from the fields.
The trials that came with being a teenager were becoming a heavier burden than I could bear, or so I thought. As I sat crying upon the soft, green grass I noticed a window a few feet away that appeared to be hanging in mid-air. As strange as it was, I wasn’t frightened. Something about it made me feel peaceful, as if all my burdens had been lifted from my shoulders.
There wasn’t a lock on the window’s sash so I raised it, and in doing so found another unexpected surprise. As I peered through the opened window I saw a magnificent city off in the distance. If a thousand angels had labored for a thousand years, I don’t think even they could have built such a beautiful place. I could feel the glow from it on my face. The wind that blew in from the city seemed to carry a song that I’d never heard before. All of it was peaceful.
I started to lean into the window for a better view when I heard a voice say, “If you enter, you cannot leave.”
“Why”, I asked? I knew I had nothing to fear from this place. I felt restored and happy. I wanted to climb through and see what grand things I knew the city held for me.
“This is an exit window”, the voice said. “There are many of them spaced throughout your life so you can exit your world if you so choose. But know this, if you climb through, you cannot go back.”
To this day I’m not sure why, but I did not go through. I stepped back from the window and instantly it vanished. Afterward I returned home and managed to survive my teenage years. Eventually I marched into adulthood and slowly eased myself into old age.
I have since visited many other private places like that bluff and I have seen several exit windows drift by through the years. At first they were few and far between but now that I am an old woman they are appearing far more frequently. In fact, I often see several of them in one visit. Maybe soon I’ll raise the sash and climb through one. But I must admit, climbing through mystical windows today won’t be as easy as it once was.