There are names scratched in sidewalks I never noticed. Children’s chalk drawings that I stepped on. Flowers that smell like bottled-up tropical islands. The clouds, right before dusk, even take on a melon hue. There all these things I never knew existed until I saw you. The world changed for me that night. That night, through your slightly veiled windows, you on your couch with your laptop in your lap. Your bangs draped across your forehead. I’m in love with your forehead.
I can’t believe I’ve never seen you before.
And now I see you every night, though you never see me. And in this way, we have a kind of unique relationship. I look over you but don’t expect a thing. Isn’t that pretty romantic?
Most men want something.
Even though I can see that you’re alone, and that no man comes to visit, I’ve never once approached you. Even when you’re on your weekly Sunday afternoon supermarket run, I keep my distance. I respect your space.
Sometimes when I don’t see the light come on I wonder where you are, but then I’m reminded that mystery is the spice that keeps every relationship full of flavor. I can only imagine the mystery you’re not even aware of feeling not knowing I’m here.
If that makes sense? Because I’m sure you feel something. Even though you don’t see me, you must sense my loving presence.
You see, that first day I saw you on your couch, with your laptop in your lap, you were crying. I couldn’t tell what you were looking at, but I could see such longing and hurt in your swollen eyes that I fell in love a little with your misery.
You looked hurt and it was beautiful, in a way, not that you were hurt, but the feelings that arose in me. Total devotion. I felt a grace fill me up and it was like a balloon; and I knew that I was supposed to tie that grace balloon to you and keep you lifted off of this dirt. And that’s why I’m here watching over you.
Does that make sense? Like, I loved all of you from the start, even the dark and damp and uncomfortable pieces. I wouldn’t say I wanted to wash your feet, because that is a little gross to be honest — but a little like Jesus, I wanted to adore you. That kind of thing.
And whatever little misery, or misery-maker, in your life, I wanted to conquer. I hated it. I wanted you strong again. Not teary-eyed and thinking of things that bring gloom to your angelic visage. I am not a violent man, but now that I had somebody to protect I felt a little like a warrior. It’s important to note I am a peaceful man.
But I’d rather tear out all the rose bushes than risk you being pricked by a thorn.
What would you do without me?
I love the way you read in your bed before going to sleep. All these books I’d never heard of before. The first time I touched your apartment was when I came by in the day, considerate of you being at work and not wanting to intrude while you were there, (always thinking of you), and I head to lift myself up on your windowsill to get a closer look at the titles…
The Writings of the Buddha…
She’s Come Undone…
You seemed like a woman who needs consistency in her life.
That’s why I’m here every night.
But tonight something different happened.
It was still early, maybe a little before midnight, when a car drove up and parked outside. I waited in my hiding place for whomever it was to scurry off but this person sat in their car for almost ten minutes.
I’m as patient as they come, obviously, but it was starting to bother me. What were they waiting for? The driver of the car could be seen, thanks to a streetlight that captured his pointy features with a sharp honesty. A nose that seemed to eject from his face. Lips that curled in a damaged way. His hair was crumpled and spiked with some kind of modern substance. I could tell the guy was nervous and that he kept looking at her apartment. I knew from taking the back route through the alley that she was in the shower.
What if this person was out to harm my angel?
Eventually the guy got out of his car and rang her doorbell. His jeans were dark and slim and his button down shirt was the type guys with desk jobs wear for interviews. He reached in his pocket and leaned his body at a curve in order to wiggle out the object he was struggling with. I tried to figure out what he had in there. I normally wouldn’t be so brazen but I stood up out of the bush to get a better look, just in case I would have to apprehend the guy single-handily (wouldn’t that be something!) or somebody would need to testify (me), that they saw this suspicious guy ringing her bell and spotted diligently whatever weapon was in his pocket.
He finally freed the thing was stuck in his tight jeans. It was a little box. He stared at it like he didn’t know what it was for a brief moment before the door opened. The remarkable thing is, when she opened the door, she turned and looked right at me. I was certain I had blown my cover, but she didn’t see me at all. Her face had gone flush with recognition and emotion and surprise, but it was for the man standing there with the box. Not me. She looked stunned, and so did he. I was stunned too, holding my breath, standing in the bushes.
Everybody waiting for something to happen…
They then disappeared inside. From where I was stationed I couldn’t see the living room, where they must have went. It was 12:33am. I’ve never stayed while she had company. That was a rule I stuck to religiously. This sort of relationship needs parameters. But this was the first time her company was a man.
I had the feeling this man was the one who made her cry the first night I saw her. It’s been two months! Where was he when it was raining and there was that leak in the ceiling, and she had to use buckets to catch the water in the middle of the night? Where was he when she came home drunk that night and left the door unlocked? If it had been somebody else, somebody unsavory and criminal, they could have intruded into her house, instead I locked it for her and didn’t even look inside but for a few seconds — just a quick little peek, really.
I had no idea what they were doing in there.
I had to get a closer look.
Which brings me to why I’m telling you all this.
Why I need to explain my actions.
You see, I crept across the street, pass his car, and over to her living room window. Normally I don’t get this close, but this was a special circumstance. She needed me. There was a little space I could wedge into, between a bush and the wall. If I was careful I could peer in from the corner. I moved in quicker then normal prudence dictated but this was an emergency.
They were on the couch. He had his spindly arms wrapped around her and she was squirming in his clutch. Her face was buried in his shoulder but it looked like she was crying.
I always carry a knife. Because you never know.
Even though I didn’t have a plan I took it out. With my back on the wall I shimmied along the wall for a better look when I accidentally rubbed the garden faucet, turning it on. Water began slowly cascading down my back.
This might be a sign that I should run. I should take off right now and call it all a loss. But that’s not what warriors do. If this man was going to commit Evil I couldn’t let some soggy trousers defeat me.
I stayed and fought.
First I had to shut off the water. I couldn’t turn around so I groped for the handle blindly and couldn’t locate it. It continued to drench me as I listened for a sign that I’ve been detected. I could hear them talking, but it didn’t sound like it was about me, so I carefully twisted my body so I could find the damn handle and shut off the faucet, but now I was crouching in a giant mud puddle. I had to do something.
He could be murdering her right this instant.
I took a gamble and went around to the side where it was exposed to the neighbors. I didn’t care. I had to act. When I got to the window I stopped and laid my body flat against the wall and then turned my neck, so I could see in.
They were on the couch still. Kissing. Her hand was cupped around the back of his head like a bowling ball. It was disgusting.
I was stunned. After all I’ve done. It felt like a butcher took a cleaver to my heart and turned it into giblets. All the time I’ve stayed here and watched over her. Those nights she cried and I wanted to hurt whoever did this to her, and here he was, defiling her before me. The disrespect!
A rage molested my soul and a desire to plunge my knife into this man’s chest possessed me. I was beside myself, this is truly important here, I was not me. I confess. I was hurt. There was something burning inside me that was unleashed and the burning was spreading and it lusted to burn to everything down. It wasn’t fair that he should come back and steal her away.
I decided to break in. I admit this. Only to prove to you how hurt I was. So you understand why I did what I did. Right then I was going to hurl my body through the window. But I stopped when I was blinded by a ring glinting on her finger. And then saw the inside of the box had a satin lining.
I was frozen. I didn’t know what to do now. My mind was tumbling like a horrible lottery wheel where the balls always land penniless and while I was putting the last pieces together, I noticed that she was looking right at me, and she was smiling.
That’s when I knew it was over between us.
And so I left.
But before I left I slit his tires. Popped holes in the rubber so wide I heard the air hissing out. Not out of malice, you see, but to make sure he didn’t leave this time. It was the final act of my perfect love.
Don’t tell anybody.