The Idea (sequel)
Based on Raymond Carver’s ‘The Idea’ - From the perspective of the woman next door
I closed the door behind me. My hand was reaching for the light switch, breathing heavily. It was that time of the night. I walked to the window and took off my shoes. I looked at my bare toes in the moonlight.
Turning to the window once more, I opened the curtain. The street lights blared into my window, facing the rugged street. I smiled; there was that glowing feeling in the pit of my stomach again. I was biting my down hard on my lip, trying to forget. Yet I went on with my routine.
I slipped off my pantyhose and looked at my bare legs in the moonlight. Soon the cars would slow down when they saw my figure in the window.
My cream coloured blouse sat crooked upon my chest. My hands shook. I started unbuttoning it.
I turned to see the two in the window, opposite me. This time she wasn’t there. The woman, I mean. Replacing her was another man with a roughly cut beard. I scowled at their stupid smug smiles. Giggling away. They thought I couldn’t see them. I could.
I turned my back to them. My eyes narrowed, trying to forget that picture, imprinted in my mind. But it was hard.
I looked at my bare arms in the moonlight. I proceeded with my routine. I took off my undershirt, now I could hear the back door slamming closed. Henry was coming outside. I scowled at his stupid smug smile. He thought I couldn’t see him. I could.
I turned around again. My heart gave a little jolt as I saw the two men, instead of the woman. Maybe I just always expected her to be there. But she wasn’t.
The two in the window were whispering this time. I couldn’t help but think that it was about me.
My head snapped to the side as I heard a loud noise from the street. There was a car. In the car was a man, winking at me.
There it was.
That feeling that made everything worth it. That feeling that somebody cared. I couldn’t help but smile. I snapped back to reality.
Out of the corner of my eye I could see them again. Their stupid faces giggling away, hardly able to contain themselves. Suddenly I got an urge to do something I had never felt before. I wanted to shout at them, hit them. They were ruining everything.
I turned back, and stared at my bare stomach in the moonlight. I felt cold. A breeze blew through a gap in the window pane. I shivered. I hurriedly turned back to the window. This time, they weren’t just whispering. They had a beer. They were enjoying it. Too much. Much too much. I felt angry, the glowing feeling dying away. Instead a fire erupted in my stomach. This time, I didn’t remove my underwear. I put my undershirt back on. The men stood up. I put my skirt back on. The men looked angry. I turned away.
I was angry. I was disappointed. I suddenly looked at my body, standing there, exposed and pale. It looked different, stupid in the moonlight. My hands still shaking, I yanked the curtain closed. I could hear the door slam. Henry was back inside. I couldn’t leave our room. I was embarrassed.
Henry walked in. He saw me in my underwear. He stopped for a moment and looked at me. Then he turned away.
“Sorry,” he said.
I didn’t reply.
“The curtains are open,” he said.
I didn’t reply.
“Were you doing it again?” He asked.
I didn’t reply.
“Why are you crying?” He asked.
I turned and fell into his arms.
“It’s ok,” he said.
This time I replied.
“No, it’s not.”
I looked up into his gaping eyes. Tears were forming, glistening. This time they were different. His eyes, I mean. Not clouded as usual, but clear, glassy in the moonlight.
He turned away. He must’ve been embarrassed.
I’ve never seen him cry before.