There was once a woman who lived alone. She never went out. She lived in a small flat on the seventh floor where every seam and crack was sealed with mastic. All the windows were blacked out with paper. Each morning she would check the seals and each night she would reapply mastic to the cracks and seams. It was the only way she could sleep.
One morning she heard a scratching, pecking, and twittering sound in one corner of a window. She was terrified. But at the same time intrigued. She picked at the black paper and saw a blue tit. She tore off a pie wedge of paper and watched the bird. Holding her breath when it flew away, not noticing she was smiling when it flew back and started pecking at the window again.
The next day she took off the paper from the whole window. She wanted to put some crumbs out. That meant peeling the mastic from the bottom of the sill and opening the window. Once she opened the first window she knew she would open all the rest letting the air outside in and the air inside out.
Now she sits by the open window. She still checks her flat every morning and puts mastic around all the seams and cracks every night (especially on the electrics because that’s where they put the microphones). She still gets her groceries delivered, but now she occasionally chats with the delivery boy through the door. She tells him about the birds.