“I Was Within and Without”

My coffee, peonies, and blanket in my window sill

Standing at five feet, one inch tall, I can fit into many inconspicuous places, but this one is my favorite.  I live above Brenen’s on Court Street, and have a perfect people watching location. The windows aren’t sealed properly. Air escapes from under the frame of the window and chills my chicken legs. Luckily for me, I have fleece slippers and a warm blanket that never leaves my legs. The sun peaks in the window just right, lighting up the stage for the actors to take their places. I grab a mug of Hazelnut coffee or a full glass of white wine spritzer, depending on the time of day, and head to my little nook.

Me, sitting in my window nook with a cup of coffee
Me, sitting in my window nook with a cup of coffee

They say that introversion comes from the exhaustion of social interactions; I know this much is true. Talking to people in class, meetings, and in bars on the weekend is physically tiring for me. I crave space to recharge, spend some time on my own, but to feel socially connected, somehow. For two years I wished for a place that I could relax, but still feel involved with the campus I’m living in. Looking for a place to call my own, it was important to me I had a window that would allow me to live through the life of others, while allowing myself to spend time alone.

I captured this photo from my window of the snowstorm we had.
I captured this photo from my window on Court Street of the snowstorm we had.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in the Great Gatsby, “Yet high over the city, our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” It narrowly discusses how Nick is both a participant in social interactions and an observer.

I’ve spent hours in this window watching drunk girls cry over the ever-too-early closing time of Wendy’s, the slipping and sliding of students on their way to class, and waving to my sorority sisters as they walk by to check if I’m in the window. I’ve watched snow fall, rain cascade, sun shine, and leaves fall. I feel extremely connected to the people who frequently walk past my building, and I’ve lived the lives of thousands.

Author: Kylie Souder

21-year-old fashion + lifestyle blogger based in Cincinnati. Five-foot-tall, perpetually early, addicted to chai.

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