My brother fell out the window. I was on the computer. Maybe playing Doom. Maybe researching something on the internet. Probably pulling up chords that could help me to understand the intricacies of certain Phish songs. Probably viewing guitar tablature. My four year old brother fell out the window. I was slow to act. But my ten year old brother was not.
The reason the four year old fell out of the window? He had decided to sit on the window sill.
The intricacies of the Phish song had so entranced me that I could not think to tell my brother, please don’t lean against the screen on the window. Don’t sit on the window sill. Get down. Stand on the floor or sit on the floor or sit on a chair but don’t sit on the window sill and lean against the screen on the window. Anything like that would have helped. But I couldn’t tear myself away.
So the screen on the window popped backwards, like a doggie door. The screen thought it was being helpful. The screen had good intentions, letting the four year old brother just crash backwards out of the house, all the way out of the whole house.
He fell out and we’d heard a popping noise, so we turned to see that he wasn’t there. My ten year old brother jumped through the window after him. Two brothers out the same helpful window. If I had seen both of them go out the window it would have been a great visual. One crashing backwards, another jumping on to the sill and then right through the window. Two humans out the window in such a short span after a long time during which no humans had gone out the window.
Quick thinking on my ten year old brother’s part, since running to the door and then around the side of the house would have taken a lot longer. You might have not realized that the window was on the first story, because I withheld that information on purpose. For reasons of suspense. It was on the first floor, but still pretty high up, because the Amish men who built the house had embedded it into a hill, and the hill slanted away along the side of the house, towards the back. So the bottom of window to top of ground distance was greater than you might first imagine. Sorry to bring the Amish in, but they’re part of the story.
The four year old brother landed in a bush, not flat on the ground. The ten year old brother scooped him up and held him up to the window, and I grabbed the four year old brother under the arms and lifted him back through the window. Alright now, the helpful window thought. So many humans going back and forth. This is definitely more like it, the helpful window thought. The helpful window felt more helpful the more humans passed back and forth through it. Finally, the helpful window thought. We’d always been fine with the window just fulfilling its standard offices—letting sunlight in and keeping wind out. We didn’t know the window had other aspirations, had bigger plans for itself. If its offices had also included not letting preschoolers fall out of the house we’d have been even more pleased, but it seemed unfair to hold the window accountable for that.
I did not pull my ten year old brother back through the window. He had to go around the side of the house and come back in.
The bushes outside had simultaneously helped and not helped. They had kept the four year old brother from smashing into the ground, but they’d scraped him up pretty bad. The four year old brother cried a lot, and we tried to cheer him up. When my ten year old brother got back into the house, we each took an end of the four year old brother. I had his hands, my ten year old brother had his feet. We swung him towards the window and pretended to count, as though on three we’d let him go, back out through the window.
The helpful window got quite excited. But we never threw the four year old out, frustrating that weird old window. Eventually the four year old brother laughed and we put Neosporin on his scratches. Then we picked him up by hands and feet again and pretended to stretch him out, tear him in half.
Watching us, that window really had no idea what was going on.