Most people thought the wheelchair was a prison, keeping me trapped solely within a world of ramps and railings. But to me it was my ticket to sanity. No dealing with all the messy business of other human beings, just a quiet life on the second floor. I rarely left my peaceful haven of books and music, that covered the entire top floor of the house.
I would nod and then mutter some nonsense about the light being better on the top floor for my hobby of stained glass. They would shake their heads and stride off on robust legs, washing their hands of the crazy old man.
The light was wonderful up there. The morning sun slipped into the kitchen on little kitten paws, light and playful but it would thicken by midday into luscious, golden slabs on the studio floor before elegantly sliding into my bedroom, pale and slippery. I would glide my chair from room to room following the light – well this what I told myself. But, in fact, it was to watch her. She too rarely left her house, constantly busy cleaning, tidying, hanging washing on the limp line. Everything was immaculate but it was never good enough. I could hear his coarse voice raised in anger, doors would slam, dishes break. The bruises bloomed on her arms, the cuts raw on her face. Occasionally I would see her double over while gardening and weep deeply and silently.
It was still dark, early on that bitter winter morning when I heard the shot ring out. I felt tears form hotly under my lids as guilt wrapped its icy fingers around my mind. I was dressed and ready when the police showed up. I would tell them everything, every vile word he had uttered, every blow he has delivered. I would not hold back.
The police officer lowered his bulk into a chair so we could speak face to face. “Your neighbor was shot this morning. He took a bullet right through the heart. Did you hear anything?”
I shook my head. “Sorry, but i see nothing from up here”.