I slept the entire day and the bungalow is in darkness when I wake. Ella is asleep in her bed in the living room and now is the time to see the woman. I put on my coat, gloves and hat. I pick up my camera and binoculars and then stroke Ella’s stomach.
“Come on little girl we’re going for a late night walk.”
Before going down to her house, I look at my digital clock, 01:33.
I leave the close and walk alongside the woodland. We trudge down the road listening to the noises from the woods. To me they’re comforting and to Ella it’s a potential play friend, but to a normal person it would be frightening; they would believe it to be somebody watching them.
I know that no one will be watching me; I know that the noise is mostly from deer and foxes.
I reach the crossroads and study the darkened homes surrounding me. Out of all the homes there is just one light piercing through the night - hers. I pull my binoculars from my jacket pocket and place the safety strap over my head. I peer through them at her window and adjust them until I have clear focus. Stepping into the middle of the road, I can see more into her living room. I look at the back of the armchair centred in her room, I can see the back of her head. In front of her chair is a pouf and on that I can see part of her leg, she’s either relaxing or sleeping.
We cross over the road and stand at the end of her drive.
“Sit. Good girl, stay.”
I walk up the drive of her house and stand before the front door. There’s a peephole in the door. I look through it but see nothing but darkness.
Slowly moving across the drive, I kneel in front of the window and look in. There she is, lying on her chair. Her head faces the TV with a fire blazing to one side.
I can only see the back of the chair and her head, until I notice a free-standing mirror in the corner of the room. As I alter my position, I use the reflection of it to see her front, she’s asleep in purple pyjamas.
Her chest moves softly as she breathes.
Something that instantly stands out to me is her skin tone. Outside she has a pale complexion, but inside it appears even paler.
With her ankle on show, I imagine myself in the room with her. Standing over her. As I kneel down slowly, towards her, I smell her sweet perfume. I gently rub her foot and rest my fingers on her ankle. I lean over her body, and using the back of my hand, I caress her cheek.
I readjust my feet to see more of the room but her head turns towards me. I drop down to the ground and shuffle to the right of the window.
Did she see?
I wait a minute and ten seconds, then I take out my camera and rest it on the window; tilting the screen down towards me, I can look into the room. She’s disappeared.
I return to my kneeling position and look into the room. She couldn’t have seen, maybe she’s getting a drink. I move to the side of the house and go through into the back garden. I see the glow from her kitchen window on the grass and bushes. I move slowly to look into the kitchen. As I prepare to look in, her shadow moves across the light on the grass. I stretch a little to look through the window. It is only small, but it’s big enough to take a picture without being seen. I lift up my camera and focus on her face as she looks down to her mug, stirring sugar into her tea. My camera clicks repeatedly and she looks up at the window; I pull the camera away and shuffle to the side of the house. I watch the glow on the grass, her shadow disappears and the light turns off.
I look back through the photos; I am proud to have captured a photo with her staring straight at the camera. A lovely shot of her, revealing the freckles scattered across her cheeks and nose. A lovely feature she shares with Cindy; I forgot about those freckles until now.
I move back to the front of the house to see the sitting room light still on. I kneel in front of the house and pull out the camera again. She stands in the sitting room and I snap more photos, this time of her beautiful pale body. She has a better body than Cindy had; she’s skinnier but she has more curves, all in the places you’d expect. As I readjust my footing, my camera lens knocks against the glass. I hold my breath and all of a sudden Bussy lunges against the window. The dog stands on an armchair, glaring at me. Its teeth are bared and flecks of spit spray into the air and hit the window. The woman turns to the window and grabs her dressing gown to cover up. I duck down and run to the end of the driveway.
“Come on, Ella.”
I cross the road and duck behind a parked car as I stare at the house.
I see the front door open; the dog gallops out and sniffs the path in front of the house, it is particularly interested in the spot where Ella waited. I see the woman follow Bussy closely. She wears her pink dressing gown now. She spends only a few seconds looking around until she calls out, “Come on Bussy.”
Her voice sounds sweet, high pitched and timid. She nods to Bussy and shivers as the dog leads her back into the house. I take a number of photos of her as she walks back to the house. She disappears inside and I go home.
I sit in my armchair and look at the photos I took. I memorise her face and her body. I memorise her sitting room and kitchen. I imagine myself with her in the photos too. Tomorrow I will make a wall for her.