t.h.e. w.i.n.d.o.w. w.a.t.c.h.e.r.s.

I sit by the window. Outside, an aspen.

When I loved, I loved deeply. It wasn't often.

I sit by the window. The dishes are done.

I was happy here. But I won't be again.

I sit by the window. And while I sit

my youth comes back. Sometimes I'd smile. Or spit.

I sit by the window. Hands lock my knees.

My heavy shadow's my squat company.

I sit by the window in the dark. Like an express,

the waves behind the wavelike curtain crash.

I sit by the window - Joseph Brodsky

Bird-shadows flit restlessly over the creamily pink walls. Clouds as delicately-drawn as skeins of silk float past. The watcher at the window has eyes only for the curtains that flutter in the ghost of the breeze at that - other - window.

There are roses drawn in blue ink and rose-leaves in black on her palms - courtesy of a morning spent doing Maths (and in reality drawing all over the pages and when pages would not suffice, on palms and ankles and young, unsuspecting brothers). Her wet hair hangs limply, in a tangled mess, around her shoulders. There are thick pink dots of Lacto Calamine on her acne-pockmarked cheeks. She catches sight of her face in the shining steel ruler that serves as a mirror when she's 'studying' and shudders, praying that he won't see her. If he comes to the window of course. And if he doesn't... ah well, she's prepared herself for disappointment. Worse things have happened to her of course.

Have they?

He ambles over to the window and her breath catches in her throat as she ducks so that he can't see her. She drinks in the sight of him and her heart does a backflip when she sees that he's chosen this lovely May afternoon to strip off his shirt (to a very, very grey undershirt that looks like it hasn't been washed in weeks but still...). Just a few more weeks and then he'll take that off too, she thinks exultamtly, barely restraining herself from squealing. And when he does...


Oh. Oh. Oh.



Silently she pays thanks every god she's ever thought worth worshipping - Durga, Aphrodite, Loki, the Supreme Antithesis of all that is Good. He's stripping. He is Stripping. HE IS...

Kind of skinny. Oh. BUT WHO CARES? He's still the most beautiful man-thing that ever graced this wretched planet, the comelist creature that was ever shod in leather, her Dorian Grey in denim, her...

Her friend doesn't quite understand what she's raving about when she calls her later but in true-friend fashion listens patiently and doesn't interrupt (not if she doesn't want to be screamed at). "He knows you stare at him. Some exhibitionist he is," she says finally, folding her arms disapprovingly over her chest.

Her demigod an exhibitionist? Well nothing wrong with that, he's perfectly entitled to be an exhibitionist, being the most exquisite creature that God ever wrought from human-clay...

"Isn't that kind of inconsistent of you? You bitch when Miss Ho gets all exhibitionisty but when he..."

She rolls up her eyes, waiving her friend's objections away. She's already designing the bedroom in her rainbow-woven castle of dreams. The curtains are important... would he prefer printed Japanese silk or something with embroidery?

He knows she watches him. She told him, back in the days when the mere mention of his name would make her jump out of her seat and squeal. Now the mere mention only makes her squeal. He doesn't know about that of course. The squealing, the seat-jumping. She certainly doesn't look like the chair-jumping, squealing type - she just looks... um, what did she look like again? Short and... sort of ugly? Oh yeah. And kind of crazy.

Dear Very Private Diary,

I'm being stalked by a psychopathic serial killer disguised as a midget who looks like a mutant ninja turtle. Threats to my life aside...

Not that he keeps a Very Private Diary under his pillow. Oh no of course not, he's far too manly for that... "Ma, there's nothing under my pillow! Why are you so curious?"

Dear Very Private Diary,

I'm turning into Don Juan. No, I'm turning into a Don Juan. Miss Mutant Ninja Turtle is in love with me. My first potentially-lethal stalker. How lovely.

It's kind of unnerving, watching her sprawled out over her bed, head bent over a book most nights, occassionally snatching a peek at his window. Not that he looks that way or anything, well maybe he does but she started it so it's her fault. It gets so unnerving that he starts closing the curtains at night - something he's never done before. Which she duly starts psychoanalyzing with her friend.

"Do you think he's mad at me? Should I ask? Oh no, I shouldn't do that... wait, do you think it'd be better if I apologized? But what am I going to say? And what if it's not about that at all? Why does he love his privacy? It's not fair! Aren't I entitled to stare at him all I want? Why does he have to be a prude? Why is life so...?"


Dear Very Private Diary,

After many hours spent philosophizing in the shower, I have come to the conclusion that having a stalker isn't such a bad thing after all. It's rather flattering in a way. Therefore Miss MNT shall receive the dearest wish of her infantile heart and see more of me. Much, much more. Mwahahahahha.

I did not just write that.

And so he leaves his curtains open, half-wondering whether she'll spend every living moment gazing at his window, at his bland bedroom (which he stays in as little as possible). She does. But sneakily. Very sneakily. She feels like a soldier in the trenches - something Private-Ryanish or Pearl-Harbory, though she's never seen an entire war-movie, they depress her too much - as she ducks beneath the headboard of her bed and stares at him. He doesn't see her staring at him and this puzzles him. Occassionally he ambles over to the window. No dark head bends studiously over a book. The curtains hang limply over her windows.

Dear Very Private Diary,

Miss MNT is no longer hot for my shorts. Not that I wear shorts, of course.

He grimaces as he remembers that she was the one who taught him that phrase.

PS: Miss MNT is rubbing off on me. I'm probably going to lose my fetish for electric-blue bras next.

Saris flutter like multi-colored pennants from verandahs, dusky-skinned maids decking them over wrought-iron grilles to dry in the hot summer sun. He leans against the windowsill, phone clutched to his ear, tracing patterns on the cool marble ledge as his girlfriend natters on. There is a window opposite his. Creamy-pink walls - so typically girly that he's almost tempted to roll his eyes. Verses and sketches in colorful glass-paint, traced in a childish hand all over the windows. Books scattered over the headboard of the bed. The door opens and he watches her enter, a fluffy lime-green towel wrapped around her head, thick pink dots on her face (WHAT?).

She looks up, as she always does when she enters her bedroom, to check whether he's at the window. He is. And she still has Lacto Calamine all over her face. Eugh.

He waves.

She almost stumbles.

He's still waving. Weirdo.

Smiling amusedly, she raises her hand. She waves back at him.


She's been away and the city has grown up in her absence. Gone are the sullenly green trees tucked into crannies between the jampacked cubbyhole-houses. Gone are the birds that would perch on her windowsill for a few grains of rice. Gone are the posters on the walls and the verses on the windows that marked her passage through girlhood over the years.

She has ugly hands, she thinks, running her fingers over the damp-spotted walls (once so pink, so creamily pink). Thick-fingered hands with cobwebby wrinkles, like an old woman's hands. She glances out at the distant city that shimmers slightly under the haze of the May afternoon's heat. Global warming probably, May used to be much cooler. The curtains that hang at her windows are limp and yellow and moth-nibbled. I wonder what kind of curtains the new tenants will put up, she thinks, climbing onto her bed to slip them off the curtain-rods. Printed Japanese silk perhaps.

She throws the curtains onto the bed and sits down cross-legged on the headboard of her old bed. Her eyes wander to that other window, the window she hasn't thought up, hasn't sneaked a peek at in years. And then she freezes.

He is there.

She waves.

A/N: Based on a real-life experience (for the most part) and therefore very random :) This ties in very nicely with my other story 'Crush' as well.