Alaska Shorts: Through the Pane, by Allen Ray Newton

The drops of rain clung to the outside of
the window pane through which I stared.
was no discernible order, but, once in a while, several of them would join
forces to create enough mass to cause the new, larger drop to slide to the
bottom of the window. There they gathered with others of their kind to form an
unchanging line. I did not go out to verify, but it seemed there must have been
a constant trickle flowing off that lower edge of the wooden window frame. Otherwise,
how could the line stay so uniform?

These were not thoughts that I decided to
They were merely the only ones that seemed to
be allowed in my mind at that time. Anything else would just bring back the

I tried to look past the rain drops –
through them.
But they blocked my view.

Yes. I know water is transparent, or at
least translucent, if you allow for the refractions and reflections it might
cause in some situations.
And there were gaps between
the drops. Surely I could see between the drops if not through them.

But I did not see.
I could not see.

Seeing was feeling. Seeing
was accepting. Seeing was reality, and reality was not my friend.
She was gone. That was all there was to it. She
had turned the door knob yesterday, pulling the door open, on her way out into
the rain. Or two days ago. Or more. All I knew was the rain was still coming
down, still making its way down the pane of the window where I sat.

I sat.

There must have been food. I don’t
remember where it came fromor what it was, but I am still alive, so there must
have at least been food and water.

Water. There was plenty of that. Water to
drink. Water to see through. Lots of water.

There was green behind the rain. Most of
the time I did not see it (seeing is feeling), but it was there. And there was
still rain.

And then there was not green, but brown – I
Red, maybe, or reddish-brown. Yellow. I don’t
know. I didn’t see it. And still, there was rain.

Then some of the rain didn’t look like
It was white, and then it was like rain again,
and then it joined and slid like all other rain. And there was no brown, but
white. And then there was rain.
Voices came. Real ones – I’m not crazy. They
said things like Eat, You Have To Keep Up Your Strength. They had brought the
food and the water – I think.

I didn’t understand. There was no strength. No
understanding either, because understanding was feeling. The voices said
things, and I suppose I obeyed, because I did Eat, and I did Keep Up My
Strength, but I did not Understand. They said I should Understand, the voices.
That it would be alright in time.

It was alright already. Not alright was pain,
and that is a feeling.

I’m Fine. I Don’t Feel. There’s no pain. Just
the pane, not pain.

There’s no water on the pane now, only ice. I can’t
see the white behind the ice. Seeing is feeling. But there is white. I think.

I touched the pane.

Maybe it felt. I shouldn’t touch.

I touch the pane every day now. Just once, or
twice, or more.

I think it must be cold, but that is not what I
feel when I touch it. I don’t touch it for long because I feel. When I feel,
drops of water cling to my face – no discernable order. Once in a while,
several of them will join forces to create enough mass to cause the new, larger
drop to slide to the bottom of my chin. There they gather with others of their
kind, forcing me to wipe them off.

When I wipe them off I seem to see – even
through the ice on the pane. Then there is more water to wipe off.

There seems to be time now. I don’t know where
it was before, but it is back.

Sometimes I see now without feeling. I see snow
on the ground, sometimes more, sometimes less.
 There is a tree in the yard with
no leaves. I remember the tree now. Remembering brings pain. Pain brings water.

Tears. The water is called tears. Crying. That
is what happens when you are sad. I am sad. I cry. I feel. I can’t seem to stop
it now.

The ice on the window gets thicker and thinner,
and that means time. The pain comes and goes like the ice on the pane. Pane.

She is still gone.

The voices have become people. I suppose they
always were since that is where voices come from. They sometimes sit with me as
the water runs down my face. I don’t let it get to my chin now. That would be
embarrassing in front of the voices – people.

They say things like See, You Are Going To Be

I Know.

Do I?

Knowing is feeling.

I know.

You Will Have To Go Out Sometime.

Will I?

I suppose I will.

Not Yet.

It Will Do You Good.

It will hurt.

Not Yet.

The ice is gone from the pane. The snow
remains. The pain remains.

Maybe not so much now. The tears don’t come
every time I touch, feel, understand, see. Only sometimes.


The snow is almost gone now. The pain is almost
gone now – most of the time. Brown has begun mingling with the white. It seems
there is a greenness in the branches of the tree.

A tiny dot of light has appeared on the pane.
It is growing, and something about it makes me want to see, understand, know…
maybe even feel. I think.

I turn the door knob, as though it was the most
normal thing in the world to do, and pull the door open.
Allen Ray Newton and his wife Barbara grew
up in Anchorage. They were missionaries in Portugal for 26 years, returning
recently to minister in Alaska. 
Allen has always been in love with the written
word, and especially The Word. 
He has written ministry related materials,
both theological and inspirational in character –  mostly in Portuguese (logically) – and short
stories in English. All the while, though, he harbored a desire to publish fictional
works that would both engage and entertain Christians while presenting God’s
Truth to a wider audience. 
His first novel, The Babylonian, is now in
print. There are more coming; the second book in the series, The Chaldean has
started its journey from brain (and heart) to paper. 
Allen is also a blogger, concentrating his
efforts mainly on the world of Christian missions. A book the subject, part
autobiography part missiology, is on the way as well,
Allen has a Bachelor’s degree in Theology
and a M.A. in Linguistics.  His wife,
Barbara, and their three very well-read adult children are his greatest critics
and supporters.

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