Old Friendships / New Acquaintances

In Columns, Features, My Life As A Voyeur: Living Vicariously by Cole Wilson

Ever since my favorite shows went into reruns, I’ve been spending more time with the telescope. Scored big with it Friday night. I was scanning the windows across the street when I hit on an apartment with lights on and the blinds open just enough.

What’s this, I thought, I think I see movement. So I focus a little closer. Sure enough, the telltale shadow of a female form. As I stare at the unknown woman I realize she’s just come out of the shower, a towel wrapped around her and her hair up like a turban.

This is getting interesting. I imagine her in my mind coming home from work, jumping in the shower, and getting ready to go out for a night on the town. I start imagining what comes next – will she take off the towel? Will she put on a black lace bra? Will she skip the panties under her skirt?
Just as she was starting to unwrap the towel, the phone rang and startled me. My head bumped the telescope, sending it spinning on its tripod. Damn. Lost the window.

I picked up the phone, more than a little irate. “What,” I barked into it.

“Cole!” came a female voice on the other end. “It’s me, Janie! Did I catch you at a bad time?”

“Uh, no,” I replied, immediately softening my voice. “You can call me any time, dear. Are you in town?”

“Yes,” she said. “I need to talk to you. Can I come over?”


An hour later, I was answering the door.

“I brought a couple six-packs for us,” Janie said as I revealed her smiling face. “Molson, is that ok?”

“Sounds great,” I said, backtracking my chair so she could get in. “You’re looking good. What’s it been, three years since we saw each other? So what brings you to town?”

“Oh, I’m moving to town!”

“Why that’s wonderful. I hope I don’t disappoint you though, I haven’t kept up on the club scene lately.”

“Oh that’s okay,” she said, sipping on a beer. “Cole, I have to tell you something though.”

She looked serious. I raised an eyebrow.
“I have someone else now. He is stationed at the local Naval base, so I’m thrilled to be moving closer to him. But I couldn’t move to town without catching up with my Cole.”

My face fell. I tried to hide it, but I don’t think I was very effective. Mercifully, she looked away.

“That’s just super,” I said, taking another swallow of the beer. “I’m happy for you. What’s his name?”

“Doug.” She replied. “He’s very gentle and kind. You’ll really like him.”

“You’ll have to bring him by sometime.”

Janie nodded and walked over to the window. She looked at the scope.

“You’re not doing what I think you’re doing, are you?” she asked.

I laughed. “It’s fun. And it’s more interesting than watching reality TV.”

She bent over and looked into the eyepiece, slowly panning the scope across the building where the blonde lived.

“Isn’t this illegal?” she asked.

I didn’t answer. She had stopped moving the scope.

“Find something of interest?” I asked.

“You are a sick puppy, Cole,” she said, leaving the scope. “It’s amazing to think anyone could be staring at us right now. Doesn’t that creep you out?”

“I say if they are interested in the antics of a homebody like me, let them look.”

She looked at the computer and the cam sitting next to it.

“That thing isn’t on, is it?”

“Would you like it to be?” I said. She laughed.

“I think I better go,” she said, getting up.

“No, don’t go. You just got here. Why don’t we watch a movie? Pick out a DVD and put it on.”

She walked over to the shelf of movies and perused through them. Every once in a while she would select one and read the back, then put it back on the shelf.

“Want some popcorn?” I asked.

“Sure,” she said, reading the back of “Die Another Day.”
I rolled into the kitchen and put a package of popcorn in the nuker. When it was done, she had made a selection.

“You sure have a lot of movies,” she said.

“It passes the time,” I said. “What are we watching?”

“Bride of Frankenstein,” she replied, tasting the popcorn. “I always liked Elsa Lanchester’s hair in that movie. Do you remember the time that I dressed like that for Halloween?”

“That was so funny,” I said. “You wore your hair that way for like, a week, didn’t you?”

“Two weeks,” she corrected. “The dye wouldn’t come out! It wasn’t as temporary as the box said it was.”

We watched the movie and finished off the six-packs. If it was three years ago, we would been making love before the credits ran. But instead, she thanked me for the nice movie and popcorn. I thanked her for the beer. We promised to get together again real soon. Quick peck on the cheek. Old friends.


In my mind I could visualize Janie going down the elevator, getting in her car and driving away. I looked out the window, alone again, and wondered – do you think someone in an apartment across the street was watching us?

I wheeled over to the telescope looked into the viewfinder, wondering if the anonymous blonde was still awake. In my mind she was just getting home from a bar, taking off clothes that smelled like cigarette smoke. There was that chance I could catch her giving me a private strip show, peeling off her blouse, skirt, bra and panties, unaware I was watching her every move.

Or maybe she would bring a guy home with her, and I would see them kiss. He would strip her and I would pretend it was my hand caressing her bare flesh. Or maybe another girl, that would be fun to watch too. My mind raced with possibilities. My heart pounded as I scanned the darkened windows for even the hint of light. My hands quivered as I thought endlessly of the blonde.

Next thing I knew I felt this pain in my neck and side. I awoke with a start. I had fallen asleep in the chair again, quite possibly the most uncomfortable thing to sleep in. I must have bumped the scope when I drifted off, as it was askew and pointing at the ceiling. At least the tripod didn’t fall over, I thought.

I looked at the clock and it said it was 3:30. That didn’t tell me a lot because I wasn’t sure when I drifted off. I looked out the window and was rewarded with inky blackness. Nothing going on in any of the apartments. My luck!

“Damn,” I thought. “All this work and the only thing I got out of it was a crick in the neck.”

I wheeled the chair into my bedroom and hauled myself into the bed. I was too tired to change and slept the rest of the night fully clothed.