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The Naked Woman Across the Street

In which I become an 11-second accidental stalker.

The Eye of the Author

I was up early on Sunday, trying to finish some work, and I yanked open the blinds and windows and put on loud music, creating an environment so stimulating - cold, noisy, wind blowing - that I could focus on the task at hand.

The task at hand was in finalizing draft 17 of a 60-page brochure about futures trading. It is the sort of detail-oriented project that makes me beat my head against a wall until blood streams out of my ears and nose. I had, according to the track-changes mode of my word processor, 384 separate grammatical, structural, and contextual changes to make.

I look out a window as I face my monitor, straight into another apartment building. An hour or so into working, as I typed the words "unique opportunity" for the 19th time, I saw a flash of motion and turned my head to the right to see an entirely naked woman, in side profile, speaking on the phone.

She turned towards her window and I ducked my head back to my screen, and a high-pitched atavistic voice yelled in my head, “naked woman!” It was sexy, but mostly I was just amused. There's a real live woman, in her mid-30s, right across the street, totally without clothes! It was cheering, and somehow soothing.

I kept working. Then - another flash, and I looked over once more, curious as to what I might see. This time she was looking right out the window in my direction. I hid my head again behind my big monitor, then poked it back out.

The woman had turned away, her back to the window, and had one hand on a pleasant-looking buttock. She stood that way for a short while, cogitating. Then she sat down (I admit I was genuinely peeking now) in a canvas chair to read something.

That's where I left her. I went back to my work and decided not to look anymore, after perhaps a cumulative 11 seconds of observation. She should have her naked morning without interference. And I hope she will forgive me the peeks. They were entirely without intent, and we will never meet each other. I wouldn't recognize her on the street.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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