When I was a child I would wake up to the sound of the wind shaking the house and the glass, and I would stand and creep to the window and look out. I would see a slender woman dancing among the trees. She was graceful and quick, and the trees danced with her. My eyes grew weary and soon I fell asleep; when I awoke I could not see her through the window, so I went down to the garden but she had gone. The sun was shining and the trees stood still, green and growing.
I would go to school and I would see her dancing and laughing with the trees and up and down the road, and she would wave to me and I would wave to her. When I returned in the evening, as the leaves of autumn blew around in the wind, I would find her and we would dance with her in her red coat and me in my yellow rain jacket. But then my mother would call me in to supper and when I returned she had run away again.
Later I would be in my room reading my book when the rain began to fall and it pitter-pattered against the window. I looked out and an old man sat on the rocks of the garden, and between his nobly brown knees there was a drum and he would beat against it and laugh. Then the woman came out too and she would dance to his music, but I was afraid of the cold and the wind, so I watched them. The woman waved and I waved back.
I would grow older.
I would make friends, and we would go over to each other’s houses and paint our nails and talk about boys. And I entered middle school and became a cheerleader; I entered high school and had a boyfriend and went to the movies; I left high school and entered the real world. Soon it came that I had not thought of the old man and the slender woman for a very long time.
I would walk and the wind would blow; it would carry off my hat into the woods. I would run after my hat but I could not run fast enough, for as an adult there never was enough time. What a nuisance the wind was, I came to realize, and I would go on to the real world.
On my way to work the rain would begin to fall and make streams on the concrete. What a nuisance the rain was, I came to realize, and I opened my umbrella to shield myself from the water and I moved on to the real world.
And I would marry and become busy in the house, cooking and cleaning and doing the laundry. As the years would continue I would have two children who were full of laughter. They became the joy of my life, and their names were Jamie and Lucy, and they were young.
One day Jamie would enter the house laughing and I would ask him what he laughed for. He would tell me that while he was outside and the wind was blowing, he had met a slender woman dancing and they had played together. Yet his scarf was missing and I scolded him and sent him off to play and stop talking of nonsense.
One day when it was raining I would realize that Lucy had somehow found her way outside. I would pull her inside and she would be soaked with water. I would ask her what she was thinking and she would say that she had heard drums, but I would ignore her and dry her off.
I would send them to bed and go to sit by the fire and read. Outside the wind blew and shook the house, and the rain pitter-pattered on the glass. I however would be safe and warm, cuddled up in a blanket and nodding over an old forgotten tale.