Each day, I hurry home from the library as fast as I can. A few weeks ago, I noticed I was starting to check my watch every fifteen minutes. Last week, I bailed on an extra hour of work, something I wouldn’t normally do because I need the money. I made up a lame excuse about having a headache and ran home to my binoculars.
I’m worried this little hobby is turning into more of an obsession than a passing interest. Knowing my family history with addiction, I should probably be concerned, but as far as I know, voyeurism and ice cream aren’t fatal.
“Harper,” Mr. Chan yells as I fly through the glass door of the Chinese restaurant and through the narrow hallway that leads to the small set of stairs.
“Not right now, Mr. Chan. I’m kinda in a hurry.” I glance at my watch for the fifth time and notice it’s seven minutes until eight, barely enough time to grab a pint and get in my spot. Sometimes, he’s a little late. Still, I’d rather be sitting, waiting, than to miss part of the show.
I snort to myself, thinking it’s definitely more than a show. It’s like a work of art, a masterpiece, something for which good money should be paid. Lucky for me and my shallow pocket book, I get it for free.
“You must eat,” Mr. Chan sing-songs behind me. “You no eat, you get too skinny.”
“Thanks, Mr. Chan, but I can’t right now.”
He catches up to me and shoves a brown paper sack into my hand. “Is on the house,” he says with a nod of his head. His kind smile forces me to smile back, even if I am going to be late.
“Hot Sour Soup, your favorite.”
I raise the bag up and sniff it. It does smell amazing, and it is my favorite. “Thank you. I really appreciate it.”
“Rent due in five days,” he yells as I take the stairs two at a time.
“Yes, five days,” I yell back. “I’ll have it to you in four. Promise!”
The only way I can afford to live in the city—close to the rehab facility—is to live above a Chinese restaurant. I use the term apartment loosely, it’s something that used to be a storage room. The small space has enough room for my twin bed, a small refrigerator, a two-burner stove, a tiny table, and a big comfy chair that was already here when I moved in. Fortunately, there’s also a bathroom with a small tub. Well, the tub was an afterthought that’s squeezed tightly into the small space, but I’m just glad someone thought of it. It’s enough for me.
I pull out my keys and unlock both locks. The good thing about living right above the restaurant is Mr. Chan is always around, and that makes me feel safe. The bad thing is that my apartment always smells like Moo Goo Gai Pan.
Hurrying inside, I set the brown paper sack on the window sill. I toss my backpack on the bed and quickly undress, discarding my skirt, blouse, and bra with a sigh of relief before replacing them with an oversized t-shirt and a pair of pajama pants.
When I’m finally in my spot—hair knotted on top of my head, binoculars in hand—I take a peek across the way, toward a building one street over—apartment 4B, if I had to guess—to see if I’ve missed any of the action.
When my eyes find what they’re looking for, my stomach flips.
My heart begins to beat faster, hammering against my chest. I sit up on my knees and scoot closer to the glass, as if it will somehow make me closer to him. Swallowing slowly, I adjust the binoculars, which I’ve come to treasure, until my view is crystal clear.
I found them the day I moved in. There was a dusty, beat up box. I asked Mr. Chan about it, but he told me it was a box his brother had left up there after the war. He never specified what war, but he acted like he didn’t want whatever was in the box, so I asked if I could go through it. “Find anything, is yours,” he said, waving above his head toward the apartment.
All that had been inside the box was this amazing pair of old binoculars and a book in Chinese. I put the book on a shelf I made from crates I’d found out back. Sometimes, I pretend to read the book, but mostly, I just stare at the symbols, wondering how anyone learns to speak a language that looks so complicated. The binoculars, though, have become my new best friend. Without a television or computer, the only thing I have to occupy my time after work are books, but I’m surrounded by books all day, and occasionally my mind needs a break from fantasy worlds.
Not that what I’m watching isn’t a fantasy, but it’s visual, whereas most of the alternate realities I reside in are all made up from words on a page.
This is living color.
I watch as he walks over to his bar, adjacent to the window, and pours a drink. The liquid in the glass makes me swallow again, imagining what it tastes like on his tongue. He swirls the liquor around before lifting it to his perfect lips and draining the glass. It’s his ritual. He does it every night he brings someone home.
I turn my focus to the woman of the evening. She’s sitting on the couch near the window. Her long blonde hair is straight as a board, tucked neatly behind her ears—a classic choice. The black dress she’s wearing is simple yet seductive, accompanied by what look like sheer black stockings, with black stilettos completing the look.
It’s a look I could never pull off. I’m envious of women who can. The only look I can pull off is skirts and cardigans. I know it’s a bit cliché. I work in a library and wear cardigans every day. How much more basic and unoriginal can I be?
Yeah, he’d never look twice at someone like me.
She stands and faces him and it’s like watching a lion with his prey. I can tell they’re talking by the movement of their lips and the occasional change of facial expressions. I wish I could hear everything. I wish I could hear his voice...his words. I only have my imagination for that part.
He walks closer and runs his hand down her arm to her waist and grabs her, pulling her to him tightly. Her long blonde hair flies back with the force, but by the way she lifts one foot off the ground and leans farther into him, I can tell she likes it. She’s into it...into him.
His mouth goes to her ear, and he whispers something to her. I can’t see his face. It’s hidden by hers, but her expression—the way she closes her eyes and bites down on her bottom lip—lets me know that it’s affecting her, whatever it is. God, what I would give to know what makes her react like that.
Her hand grips his shoulder tightly, wrinkling the fabric of his crisp white shirt.
His hand goes to her back, making fast work of the zipper on her dress.
Once unzipped, he pushes the black fabric until it pools at her feet. She goes to remove her stockings, but he stops her, shaking his head. Standing back, he admires her for a split second, folding his arms in front of him, rubbing his scruffy jaw, like he’s trying to decide what to do with her.
Taking a step toward her and reaching out, he turns her around and swiftly unclasps her bra and drops it to the floor, kicking it out of his way, along with her dress. Then he kneels, turning her back to face him, pulling her to him. I can see perfectly, and I watch as he inhales deeply before his teeth nip at her stockings. His tongue darts out, and he wedges his face between her legs. Even though there is a barrier between them, his touch causes her head to fall back. Her long hair cascades down her back, practically touching her ass. He pulls the stockings down, ripping them. She has nothing else on underneath and is now standing bare before him.
She doesn’t hide.
She doesn’t seem nervous.
She just stands there, allowing him to have his way with her...nipping and licking...sucking, until she’s gripping his hair and forcing him closer.
Suddenly, he stands up, tossing her over his shoulder, her bare ass up in the air for all to see. Or me. Just me. Because being four stories up, I’m sure it seems as if they’re hidden away from the world...alone in their haze of passion.
But I have to wonder if he gets off from doing this. If the chance of being exposed and seen is part of the arousal, because he always fucks them in the window.
While she’s still over his shoulder, he pulls her shoes off and yanks the remains of her stockings off, tossing them to the floor before he places her in front of the window and spreads her legs apart. From this position, I have the best vantage point. Although, I can’t see all of him, I can see her, and her expressions tell me everything I need to know.
It’s so good she wants to cry.
It’s so good she probably doesn’t even know where she is or care. She probably doesn’t even remember her name.
For the time being, she’s in that window, she’s his. That’s it. That’s all that matters. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Her medium-sized breasts push up against the window, and her mouth drops open as he pushes himself inside her. Two sets of hands are pressed against the glass—her small ones and his large ones.
Her beautiful face morphs from pain to pleasure to ecstasy. I can see the second her emotions overtake her; her porcelain face practically breaks as she cries out—probably his name. He wraps his hand around her long corn silk hair and pulls her head back, opening up her neck for his lips as he continues to thrust into her.
For a moment, his eyes gaze out the window, and I freeze, tensing up. I know he can’t see me. I know that, but the smirk that forms on his lips makes me think he hopes someone sees them. He wants someone to see them. He gets off knowing it’s a possibility. That thought makes my heart beat even faster, and I swallow hard.
With her head tilted back, I get to watch him. His jaw tightens, and his nostrils flare. His equally beautiful face turns a dark shade of red, and I can see a bead of sweat drip off his nose. His tongue licks it as it runs across his lips, and then he licks her, tasting her, sucking at the skin on her shoulder.
She removes her hands from the glass and wraps them around his neck, holding him there. When her body begins to go limp from exertion, he presses her harder into the window, using it to fortify her, until he finishes.
They stay against the glass for a short time, both catching their breath. I match their pace, catching my own that I’ve been holding as I watched them climax. My legs are squeezed tightly together, wanting the same friction I’ve been witnessing but knowing I’ll never have that. A warm bath and my hand will take care of the throb between my legs, but later.
After she slips her dress back on and wads her stockings up, tossing them in the same trash can he deposited the condom, I put the binoculars down and walk to the freezer. Time to decide on the flavor of the night and cool the fuck down.
Rocky Road? No.
Cake Batter? Hmmm. Maybe.
My eyebrows shoot up, smiling wryly at the cosmic coincidence. That’s the winner. The blondie on the other side of the window sure had a lot of ambition tonight, I think to myself before prying off the lid and licking it clean. Situating myself back in the window seat, I pull the binoculars back up and make sure I didn’t miss anything.
Sometimes, there’s a round two.