/ Neighbors /
7:45 this morning a woman walked past my front window. I see her clearly, could hardly miss her: attractive woman, adult, what: sixty? seventy? She’d have to be looking right at me to see even a shadow sitting here, typing away, dim indoors seldom being visible to out-of-doors. Further, I doubt that she’d be looking: ’cause I invited her to, being friendly, wanting to invite her and her partner to be aware that I and my partner love to dance. Last week I bicycled after her, made her nervous, maybe feel stalked.
I’m relieved to see her, maybe I didn’t altogether scare her off last week. Through August I’d seen her pass regularly. I had an idea, wrong it turned out, who she was. I thought she was a neibhbor, an immediate neighbor: Joyce, Fred’s wife, a resident of Sebring Gardens. Seeing her confused me because I’d heard that Joyce was on some kind of oxygen support; this woman was walking like a champ. She could have been walking past my window every morning approximately around 8 AM for years without my noticing. My Jan is in Sebring October through July. I don’t need to notice any other women when she’s around. That I’ve noticed this “Joyce” is evidence that Jan is not around. Anyway I want to say something nice to her, commend her athletic appearance, invite her aloud that she’d be welcome at our friends’ table at the American Legion dance nights in Lake Placid: wish that I’d see her while Jan is absent.
Is she Fred’s wife? What’s this about oxygen. Dammit, what am I wonder for when I can ask? Last week she goes by, she turns onto Brunns Road, she walks south. Dammit, I jump on my bicycle and pedal after her.
I knew it! She’s felt me looking at her. She’s felt my eye on her ass, admiring her. She turns, looks over her shoulder. Now her walking is fumbling, uncertain. What does a lone woman do when she sees that a man is following her? So I call still from a distance: “Hello. Yes, I’m riding up behind you. I want t ask you something. She smiles, forced, not comfortable.
“Hi. Are you Shirley? Fred’s wife? Do you live in Sebring Gardens? Do you and Fred do ballroom dancing? Line dancing?”
No, she says. She and her hasband recently moved into Woodlawn Estates (next park down, west side of Brunns). No, they don’t dance: her husband is not terribly physically active. …
Oh, shit. Now I’ve trapped this nice woman out on the highway. She’s awkward, a man on a bicycle behind her on the highway: what does she do?
Well, I want to ask her the rest of my questions. I want to tell her how nice she looks from the rear, and now from the side too. But it’s no good: I’ve got to get out of there.
I’m the second trailer on the left of the middle lane, blue Dodge Neon under the car port. Stop by and say Hi sometime.
And then I didn’t see her. My fault. I scared her off. She thinks I’m a stalker.
No. ‘Cause here she’s back, passing right under my nose. It’s mid-September. Jan will be back in mid-October: one more month of suffering.
I was at Jan’s yesterday, biked over, six or eight miles, did all her yard work, burned all the fallen debris: dead fronds, curtains of moss: combed the lake shore. I so love her yard. The way I love her, grooming every inch. Got rained on but good on my way back.
Wednesday I saw the walking girl coming, chickened out from chasing her down: ditto yesterday. Now it’s Friday, the 16th. 7:45 AM, here she comes: but following a slightly different route. Dammit, I want to talk to her at least one more time, but she’s already circumnavigated Sebring Gardens, she’s back on Brunns Road, heading back south. Dammit, I jump on the 18-speed mountain bike and whizz after her. I call still from a distance: “I’m coming up behind you. Again. I want to tell you another couple of things.”
First thing I told her once she agreed was that I’d told Jan when she called from Nova Scotia that I’d chased down a poor neighbor, a cute willowy blond with long legs. R proves to be her first initial.
Apparently I’m not a threat to her. She didn’t tell me so, she juyst showed me so. She’ll knock as she passes my house next time, we’ll walk together: if I can keep up with her: she’s a fast walker.
Nice, now I’m happy. She can explain to her hausband who this new friend is. I’ve already told Jan. Jan knows how frustrated I get when she’s up north in her mansion on the bay.
Years ago, before I met Jan, Chris was a main dance partner, and Chris wondered aloud where I got off walking around my trailer naked. I said no one can see me, you can’t look from bright light into dim light and see details. Go outside, look in the window, see for yourself. Christ exited, walked around, lurked by the front window: came back in.
Could you see me?
I’m reminded of visiting my German friend Inge on her island in Pompano Beach, early 2000s. Inge is very strong, fairly fit: Germany begged her to throw the discus for them in the Olympics. I could not keep up with her! I can’t play tennis with her either: the heaviness of her strokes rips the racket from my hand. Had I any sense I would have shortened my stride and taken three times more steps. But no, I lengthened my stride: and fell further and further behind.