Johari Window



Scene Title Johari Window
Synopsis A technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others.
Date October 19, 2018

Long rays of afternoon sunlight spill through tall windows onto a comfortable red-upholstered armchair. Dust particles hang stationary in the air, like tiny golden stars glinting in three dimensions.

«Mayor Caroline Short outlined the Safe Zone's plan for the reinstatement of the NYPD in a press conference in Red Hook earlier today.» A radio beside the chair on a tall table crackles softly, and a young man on the other end reads reads the news aloud from an article printed in the New York Times. A physical copy of the newspaper is folded in the lap of Daniel Trafford, reclined in the armchair in the sun, reading along with the broadcast and silently mouthing the words as he does.

«The iconic Watchtower building at 25 Columbia Heights will be converted into the NYPD Headquarters, with precincts rolling out in each Safe Zone neighborhood over the next year.» Nodding along to the words, Niel smiles and reaches for a cup of tea steaming on a coaster beside the old radio. As he picks it up, he looks up from the newspaper to a clock on the wall reading 3:45pm, then over to a post-it note stuck to the radio that reads DELILAH 5:00.

He smiles, eagerly.

«We'll be back with more local news after a music break,» says the young man on the radio. «Here's Cyndi Lauper with "Time After Time" on WSZR, Safe Zone Radio.» Niel looks over to the radio with both brows raised, then exhales a soft sigh through his nose and folds over the newspaper to look at the headlines on the other side. As he does, music begins to pipe through on the radio.

Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick

And think of you

Caught up in circles

Confusion is nothing new

He'd heard the song recently, when he was reunited with his daughter after so many years apart, and it perplexed him then, too. There was something about it that felt so deeply sad, something heavy and hurtful that felt just out of reach, like a dream forgotten on waking that gets further and further away the more he grasped for it.

Flashback, warm nights

Almost left behind

Suitcases of memories

Time after

Setting his tea and newspaper aside, Niel rises up from his chair and goes to the window, looking out at the broken Safe Zone skyline. Not much of New York felt familiar anymore, though he couldn't place why any of it did at all. There were fragments of memories here, glimpses of something from long ago, but he couldn't reconcile any of it with his memories of the present. Brows furrowed, Niel looks down to his hands, creased with age, and then back up. Briefly, he catches his own muted reflection in the glass, then focuses past it to the broken span of the Queensboro Bridge in the distance.

Sometimes you picture me

I'm walking too far ahead

You're calling to me, I can't hear

What you've said

The Bridge.

Then you say, go slow

I fall behind

The second hand unwinds

The Queensboro Bridge

Decades Earlier


"If you're lost you can look and you will find me, time after time!"

She's singing, arms unfurled, scarf pulled up to her red nose and mitten-covered hands flapping. As she pivots around on one booted heel, her long sandy-brown hair fans out behind her like a shawl. The icy wind whipping across the footpath on the Queensboro bridge is enough to steal her breath, and yet, she's still singing. "If you're lost you can look and you will find me! Time after time!"

Hands tucked into the pockets of his puffy green jacket, Daniel Trafford shuffles along just a few paces behind the twirling young woman who stops mid-spin to watch Niel's careful, shuffling steps with pursed lips and gleaming-eyed amusement. "You don't have to walk in the snow much where you're from, do you?"

Niel cocks a brow at her and hunches his shoulders forward, trying to hide his face deeper into his rainbow-striped wool scarf. "No," he says with a roll of his eyes, "if we get so much as a bloody dusting in Manchester people lose their minds. Grannies frozen in their flats, cars spinning off the road, lorries pitching into the river." He wrinkles his nose. "This is practically apocalyptic cold."

"It's twenty-three," she says with a roll of her eyes, stepping over to smoosh her mittened hands against Niel's red cheeks. "Just wait until February when it gets down below zero!" That remark has Niel's brows scrunching up and the gloved hands at his cheeks have his eyes flicking to the side and away from her blue ones.

"That's— uh— what, in Celcius?" Niel says frustratedly. "Whatever. What's that song?"

She steps closer, pivoting Niel so she's blocking the wind coming up the river with her back. It makes her hair blow over her shoulders, brush across Niel's, he can smell her perfume at this distance mixed with the smell of fresh pastries from the bakery. "It's Cyndi Lauper, she's cool. Haven't you heard of her?"

"M'more've a Buzzcocks guy," Niel says with a purse of his lips, cheeks somehow redder now in spite of her gloved hands trying to keep them warm. She doesn't recognize the name, but she smiles nevertheless and looks away, toward the noise of a honking car in the distance, and then back to Niel.

"We could trade tapes," she says with a smile.

Decades Later

After my picture fades and darkness has

Turned to gray

Watching through windows

You're wondering if I'm okay

Swallowing noisily, Niel wipes at his cheeks, realizing that he's started to cry. Jaw unsteadied and trembling, he walks away from the window and wraps one arm around himself, as if he were able to feel the bone-chilling cold from that fragment of memory. "Janet?" Niel says in a hushed whisper, closing his eyes and trying with all his might to remember more. the scent of her perfume, the pastries from the bakery, the feeling of gloves on his cheeks and the race of his heart.

Secrets stolen from deep inside

The drum beats out of time

"No, no," Niel murmurs to himself, raking a hand thorugh his hair. "No, it's all… there's no corners. There's— I can't make the corners line up. The bloody… the— stupid, stupid Daniel come on!" Both of his hands wind up through his hair, fingers curling to grip clumps of hair tightly as he paces around the floor of his tiny Benchmark apartment.

If you're lost you can look and you will find me

Time after time

"I can't," Niel says in response to the song, "I can't bloody… remember who— " His breath hitches in his throat, eyes focused on a distant point in space. He turns, swiftly, looking over his shoulder to the window and runs toward it, eyes wide. "No, but…"

Decades Earlier

Giggling, she turns and starts to walk backwards. "Come on, come on, sing the chorus with me! It's a good song!" The cold air has flushed her cheeks pink, and she can't help but afford Daniel with a toothy smile. One mitten-covered hand tries to threads an errant lock of hair behind one ear, but she can't quite muster it. Daniel cracks a smile, stepping over and helping her. His fingertips brush her temple, his smile grows.

"If you fall I will catch you…" She starts to sing, waiting for him to join in, "I will be waiting." She raises a mitten-clad hand up to hold his at her temple, her eyes locked on his. "Time after time." Niel starts to open his mouth, but he looks uncertain, can't remember the lyrics. So she repeats them.

"If you fall I will catch you," she squeezes his hand in hers, "I will be waiting…" Niel might not be able to remember the lyrics easily, but he can remember the artist's name. It was her name, after all.


Decades Later

"Time after time…" Niel sings in a shaky whisper.

"Time after time."

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