She did not know that I watched her.
It was better that way, more meaningful.
She knew me enough to smile a hello if she saw me as I was drawn in her wake. Living in a town of 40,000 has its conveniences: people recognize each other so there is no surprise at meeting a familiar pair of eyes, and if mine were always watching her then she could dismiss it as recognizing a face you could not put a name to yet.
I watched and thought that someday when she stopped dating the pretty boy I would talk to her, even if watching felt like it could be enough.
She lived across the street on the third floor of a brownstone. I did not notice her until I looked out my window early one morning. I had an early interview for a temporary teaching position at the local community college. I did not need the job but teaching young writers helped spur my own creativity. I had gotten up earlier than necessary to quell the interview butterflies. I took a cup of coffee to my window and stared out into the morning. There was nobody outside except garbage men. I thought about running outside to give them my bag, but it seemed more trouble than it was worth. A flash of white caught my eye making me turn my head towards it. She was bouncing in front of her television in white panties and a matching sports bra. Her, just below the shoulder, brown hair was in a ponytail and bouncing to the rhythm of her movement.
The brownstones around town usually had two twenty-four inch wide windows with a 36-inch separation between them. Her building was different: there was only one window taking up the space that other buildings put two in. My window was slightly above hers so I had an undisturbed field of view into her entire living room.
I watched her bounce, strain, and pump her way through her workout with the unbridled enthusiasm of an early riser. My coffee was cold before I took another sip. I discovered that energetic aerobics watching has some of the same effects as caffeine.
She finished her workout and moved deeper into her apartment. I must have been avoiding the peeping urge before, because as I studied my view I was amazed at the detail I could get into her apartment. I guess seeing her brought everything into focus.
I took a shower, changed into my interview clothes, and went to stand just inside my building door. Misfortune had bought me the building so I did not have to worry about anyone coming up behind me. My parents died in one of those faulty equipment industrial accidents. The bean counters thought the payout would be less than making financially unsound changes for something that might never be a problem. My parents had been successful and because of their background had led frugal lives. Their estate alone might have meant I only had to work to keep myself busy.
My uncle did not take his brother and sister-in-law dying in a preventable accident well. My father had paid for his law school and bought him a house as a graduation present so my uncle had been allowed to follow his heart as a left-wing legal crusader. The accident changed that for the time it took him to make everyone involved pay for my being orphaned and for losing a big brother he had idolized. The companies knew they were in trouble; we had the money to live well and the legal help was motivated and free. They kept coming back to my uncle with larger and larger settlements. I think he only stopped because he thought he might be setting an example of greed for me.
I used the second and third floor of the building for myself. My uncle's daughter lived in the first floor apartment with her new husband as the family did not want me to live alone.
She came out of her building, and I got lucky. She had parked her car in front of my steps. I opened the door, walked down the steps, and at a brisk pace passed in front of her car just as she got to the door. One quick look showed me what I wanted to see: violently dark eyes, the hair a light shade of honey brown instead of the dark brown I saw from my apartment. She was six inches shorter than me, and her body was lush. It is a disappointment that so few women can be described as voluptuously attractive. She did not have a socially defined perfect body, but you could not convince a teenage boy she was flawed. She was short and each part that described her as a woman was straw on a camel's back. Her breasts were too big for her frame, hips a couple of inches too wide, a waist a bit too tiny, thighs thick enough to squeeze the breath from your body, lips ripe, it went on and on. She was not mother-earthly, but she broadcast enough femininity to make pagans.
I walked away before she turned to look at me. I wondered at the speed my fascination had risen. I was more into the athletic than the baby-making hips type.
That was how it began.
I crossed her path time and time again. I bought her a drink as I left the restaurant she was walking into. I would walk down the main street on a Saturday morning and recognize her from a block and half away. We would pass close enough for me to smell her perfume. I spent a day finding that perfume. I liked to open the bottle at night letting the scent invade my bedroom. There was something of her that mixed with the perfume, but just the perfume was enough if I closed my eyes.
She went alone every two weeks to watch a movie and relax. I understood; it was relaxing to sit behind her.
There was now a ritualistic goodnight at my window. She had her own bedtime rituals, and they became a part of mine.
I woke up early on her aerobic days and had a cup of coffee by the window. A full time writer does not like to get up early in the morning, but my eyes snapped opened at the every day at the right time. I did not need the coffee, but it was cold comfort.
The worst was watching her with the pretty boy that she dated. He was why I kept my distance, or at least he was my excuse. He was her height and thin with shoulder-length blonde hair. I could almost feel the disdain he worked so hard to exude. I wondered why she went out with him when she overpowered his presence. From where I stood, she was too much woman for him.
The fifteenth night of my nighttime ritual was when I met him. I had walked to the window to say goodnight. She was dancing with the pretty boy, and I burned myself with the coffee in surprise. Not at him, she was swaying to the rhythm of her heartbeat.
I watched the motion of her hips enthralled. He was not taking advantage. A slow dance, alone in her apartment, the rhythm seemed made to run your hands over her, to touch wherever she allowed, and to hope that each pass convinced her to allow more of her to be explored.
He did nothing.
She was in charge. I wished I could wrestle with her for control of that passion.
Surprisingly, it was the first time I thought of being with her.
I smiled as he just let her push him down to the floor She started a slow strip. I do not remember much of our first time. I remember the movement of her hips, my heartbeat in my head. I remember the heat from her; I could feel it through our windows and across the street.
He killed me with not moving.
He lay passively as she straddled his hips. His hands should have been on her nipples, on her hips, reaching around to grab her full ass. She undid his pants, moved down his body while trailing clothing nipping newly exposed skin.
He lay there as if his pleasure were her job. He was not wearing underwear, or maybe she pulled them down with the pants. She crawled up until she had the alignment she wanted.
She had to go to him!
His hands did not come down to grab her hips and guide her, smoothing the transition into her body. I hated him in that moment for wasting the opportunity she was.
She reached between her legs and placed him carefully. Her head rolled back in a slow sigh of pleasure that screamed her enjoyment of the moment that a man became a part of her.
He did not move.
She rotated her hips in punishing slow circles.
I turned from the window and went to bed. I had my first eight am class at the community college. They had to be serious students if they were taking a creative writing class that early so I wanted to be at my best. Staying by the window would have done nothing but increase my frustration. He was waste of heterosexuality; even the voyeuristic pleasure of watching the object of your desire getting it was missing.
I stared at the ceiling in my room playing the film of how it should be. The slow roll of her head backwards, her mouth opening as a small gasp of surprise and pleasure escaped. I imagined the motion, the sound, but I was in her apartment underneath her. Beneath her for every sharp intake of breath, for every squeezing of her pussy around me as she got a step closer to her pleasure, for every scream as she peaked, for every orgasm I could draw from her body with mine.
He changed nothing.
My bedroom stayed scented with her perfume. I drank my cold coffee on the right mornings. I watched a movie every two weeks. I ate in the same restaurants, and she drank the same wine. I whispered goodnight every night.
I left her their privacy though.
My family began to worry. I had isolated myself more than ever and even the teaching position did nothing to relieve their fears. I had been close to my parents. I had been old enough to understand everything I lost but too young to handle it. My family could not help me; they also hurt. Before her, I made the effort to playact involvement but no longer felt the need to make believe if I had her in my life.
.... There is more of this story ...