Behind the Blinds
She's precise. 6:45am, and like clockwork, down the driveway she struts, sporting her oversized red leather tote held tightly on her shoulder. Too big for a purse, yet too small to be a gym bag. She guards that thing suspiciously with her life.
"What does she keep in there?" I whisper to myself while sipping on my morning cold brew.
Meet Tara. She's the 5'5, golden-blonde, tight-ass that always gets what she wants, and is my neighbor on the hill, for now.
The Secret in His Smile
With his usual nonchalant stride, Peter shuffles down the front steps in his wife’s fancy gold slippers. His robe flowing swiftly behind. Their private drive is lined with perfectly manicured red and yellow rose bushes, in-bloom, and as flamboyant as he is. That usual pompous smile dons his face as he prepares to grab his beloved Forest Hills Bulletin, which I watched Jimmy from Cedar Street, deliver at 5:30 this morning. It is the same fake smile that I can't stand, while he bends over like an old man with a herniated disk. He winces in pain as he visibly struggles, which is puzzling, as he is only forty-five, an active runner, and health nut. I tap my foot rapidly with impatience for what seems to be eternity until he finally aligns himself upright. He stretches his hips forward, and arches his back to re-calibrate, then takes in one long inhale of the dry spring air and again smiles from ear to ear; But as I sit here eating my dry toast, with no butter, all I can think is, just hold the happy thought Peter, because I know what you did.
The crackled hiss of my third drag invigorates my senses. The smooth menthol glides into my lungs and a sip of Brandy washes that down. I find myself day dreaming among the darkness of the witching hours. 3:37am. A “hoot” in the distance from a fellow night owl, cuts through the silence. Like him, I am perched outside my balcony window, loosely wrapped in my baby-blue robe, and freely exposing my naked body, as the breeze pulls at its edges. The night air is just chilly enough to lift the goosebumps from my skin. My mind is at peace. Darkness, you are my best friend. You've never betrayed me. My hand raises for another drag, but I am rudely broken from my mindful trance by Cynthia, the rude and deplorable bitch next door.
"What the fuck is she doing? " I mumble, while exhaling a less than satisfied cloud into the air.
I stoop my body for a better look, careful to remain hidden behind my plants. She is struggling to drag something, a bag I think, but her heave and pull method, though it works, is clearly creating an unnecessary workout. She stops every ten feet to catch her breath and minutes go by until she finally makes it to the trunk of her green Subaru Outback. She wheezes while standing the bag up against the bumper, and manhandles it with her shoulders and legs the rest of the way up. A forceful hip check finishes the job. Cautiously, she closes the hatchback with a faint click, and with immediacy scurries to the driver’s side. The hue of white and red car lights illuminates my face and the shadows of my plants are cast across the side of my house. Just as abruptly as she intruded my night, she equally vanishes from it, and my cloak of darkness is restored, but my curiosity of the bizarre event that I just had witnessed continues to scratch the inside of my skull. Where the hell is her husband, Bill?
I wince in pain as sweat drips off my brows, and scorches the corners of my eyes. The excess makes its way down my face until I can taste the saltiness on my lips. My heart is chugging at top speed as if it's a train barreling down the tracks, and I am a locomotive that refuses to stop. My blistering feet smack against the pavement, and each pounding step sends a bolt of electricity into my ass, jolting me to keep pushing on. I’m in race with Tina, but she doesn’t know it, and there is no time to consider slowing down. I'm approaching seventy feet behind her, and I can already see she's wearing those trendy ass-lifting leggings sold on QVC last week; The purple ones with Laser beams, I think. If for any second, she thinks that her fancy car, expensive clothes, or lavish lifestyle will help her win this race she is sorely mistaken. I’m about to show her what second-hand spandex can really do.
She presents herself as this virtuous yoga instructor in our little corner of town, but you should see what she does behind her castle walls. Her front door revolves with male visitors like there is an open sign always left on. Twenty feet, and my pace is rising. She would hear me now if it wasn’t for her matching purple air-pods stuck in her ears. Suddenly, I smack into a wall of gnats freeing me from my thoughts, and filling me with a protein shake that I didn’t expect. I spit out a couple dozen onto the ground, and keep pushing on. They are disgusting, and I can imagine they taste similar to Tina's tofu order she gets every Friday from the local Won-Ton delivery guy. She earns a free lunch and he receives more than a tip.
We round the corner onto Highlander Street which is known for its quiet, but nosy neighbors. Most of them are old, retired, and soon to be dying, and being within arm’s reach of Tina, sends me into overdrive. Today, I very well may be joining one of those old bastards in the hospital. Not so Fast! I grit my teeth, punch at my ribs, and groan in agony as I full-throttle the jets and surge past her. Yes! I’m smirking with celebration while simultaneously trying to catch my breath. Eat my dust bitch. She’s in my rear-view and well behind me for good. As I get closer to the “T” in the road, I dart right, and a few moments after, shoot a glance back at her; she goes left. Sunday, 3:24pm. 19 minutes, 23 seconds; My fastest time yet.