Virginia Woolf, The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Growing up she never particularly liked this place. Not that anything bad happened here during her childhood. She just didn’t get why her parents of all places chose to settle down here when the big city was so nearby. As soon as she could afford her own place, she escaped into the liveliness of the city and enjoyed her won freedom and anonymity.
But she always knew, there was an expiration date on her freedom. As life would have it, she now had to take over the family business, it was the right thing to do. Which leads us to now, where she’s looking for apartments that she has no desire to live in. The next appointment won’t be until another hour, to pass the time she starts wandering around and stumbles across the garden she always passed on her way to school.
Although the garden remained exactly the same, it’s surroundings have changed. The workshop of the old clockmaker on the far side to the left is gone and there’s a new building in its place, which cuts off the shortcut she used to take on her way home. On the other side, there’s a fragile winter garden now squeezed in between the walls with flowers in it that either seem too delicate or too precious to survive outside.
Still this place feels so familiar, as if she’s never left. She studies the walls that frame the garden and wonders if they were once part of another structure. The garden used to look quite odd in this village. It was so new, they weren’t sure what to do with it. There wasn’t a swing or even a sand pit. The blue color of the concrete walls was so intense that even the flowers seemed afraid to grow beside it. Which left the walls naked and vulnerable. Now nature is slowly inching back. The plants are climbing up the sides and have started to cover the concrete walls underneath it. Over time the rainwater has left an interesting gradient pattern on the concrete. The jasmine tree is in full bloom and its scent is so potent it carries through the whole garden.
She decides to sit down on the wooden bench nearby and lets some minutes pass by. When all of a sudden, she sees movement from the corner of her eye. There is a curtain blowing in the wind out of a window she didn’t see before. She feels that her precious moment of solitude is compromised. Looking around she hears someone calling from a distance.
A small grey pigeon flutters desperately into freedom while a young girl equally desperate is unsuccessfully trying to stop something that has already happened.