(Honing your observations skills assignment by Aurelia L. Castro.)

Buildings that look like boxes. Columns and rows of tinted glass windows that stare like lifeless eyes. A slow movement of vehicles coming in and out the parking lot. A few people passing by and a cat or two strolling around the well-swept path – these are the usual sights from my window at the 7th floor in my flat.

The 15-storey home buildings before me look so still. They seem to have stood there for years. Their walls’ weak and fainting colours of yellow, pink, and maroon tell me they are old and have lost their smell long time ago. Their gray-white coloured air-conditioning units are like uniform badges attached to their chests.

It’s quiet and slow, boring and almost deserted in the daytime. Cars and motorcycles are neatly parked, some almost kissing each other, on their numbered spots. Even the clothes hung on some of the windows look tame and calm. The trees are orderly arranged as well. Their leaves gently flip with the occasional soft blow of wind.

The sight of the sky takes only about a quarter from the whole screen view in my window. Yet it’s the one that seems to command life to this rather nostalgic and perhaps unappreciated place. It creates movement as it breaks from darkness to gray in the morning, to orange when it’s shone by the sun, to blue, till it turns slowly back to gray, then to darkness again. At six in the evening, it is still bright and dominant.

As the sky begins to cool down and welcome the stars and moon at night (which are usually overshadowed and unseen because of the city’s bright light), the lamp posts at the parking area start to light up. The darker the sky goes, the more light comes out from everywhere – cars, buildings, and streetlights. The windows that were like lifeless eyes finally blink and smile at night.

At the cool of the night, I can hear the soft engines of the passing cars. There are dogs barking, clanging utensils, and baby cries, too. There’s an old man shouting and his voice echoes all around. I can’t decide what he’s saying. I can’t tell from which flat he’s yelling from.

As the sight and sound change at night, the smell would tell you too that people are home for dinner. The fresh, tasteless air would suddenly change to one deliciously polluted with spices and some strangely mouthwatering food smell. At other times though, the smell is repulsive. Must be a strange food for me.