Nightmare & Vision #94, by Monocle
On Monday, the pictures in the unmarked envelope showed me through my kitchen window. Eating breakfast, drinking coffee, talking on the phone, e-mailing. I live on the 27th floor, the nearest apartment building as tall several blocks away.
On Tuesday, the envelope had images of me through my living room patio window. Watching TV, talking with a girlfriend, reading on the couch, and walking through by the back wall. It was like they were taken from the balcony itself. My apartment faces south. Why would I close my curtains and miss all the sunlight?
On Wednesday, they were pictures of me in my bedroom. Reading in bed, stretching in the morning. Checking my hair in the mirror before going out to work. Sleeping. The different clothes and hairstyles said the pictures had been accumulated over most of a year. I closed the shades and curtains on all my windows.
On Thursday, my trembling hands shuffled through a set of close-ups of my face. They were portrait quality, all clearly through one of my windows. They showed me in all moods, serious, laughing, angry. Several had me looking seemingly right at the camera – catching me watching the city from my window or balcony.
On Friday I almost threw the envelope away without opening it when I saw it in my mailbox. But I did. I was semi-nude or naked in every single picture. Coming out of the shower, changing clothes, reading naked n my bed, lounging on my sofa decadently eating a box of chocolates (I remember that night). Grabbing a midnight snack by the glow of the refrigerator. Unselfconscious positions and traipsing around the privacy of my own perched home. To a one, the pictures were well composed, flattering, even beautiful. But I didn’t sleep well that night.
Saturday, today… I loitered out in the mailroom, not meeting anyone’s gaze until the mail was delivered box after box. I had mine open and snatched the bundle as it slid in, rushing back to my apartment. I tore it open after locking the door, my worst fears realized. A pornographic portfolio, starring me in every frame. Touching myself in the mirror, masturbating under my blanket, playing with my one toy on top of my sheets. Fucking my spring fling in the living room. Being eaten out by my blind date on my kitchen table two months ago, the men’s faces off camera or cropped out. Then – a close-up of my face in orgasm. Another, in the dimness of a nighttime reading light, my ecstasy crystal clear. Image after image selected, artistically cropped, focused to zero in on the erotic. I’m a completely normal, single, working woman, but in this envelope I was a nymphomaniac, a slut, or worse.
Now, shaking, I stand up from where I’d been looking at the pictures on my bed. Photographs litter my bedroom floor and shelves. I turn off my lights, and open the curtains on my picture window. The city spread out before me on a Saturday afternoon. Several buildings as tall or taller than mine line the city streets in my view. I back to the far end of my room. Still a handful of towers in sight. Dozens of distant windows face me.
I should close my curtain and keep it that way forever. I stare out at cityscape. Behind one of those windows, right now, a camera lens is watching me. I know it. I should call the police. The afternoon stretches to evening, and blue fades to orange in the sky. I should leave my apartment right now, and never return. Instead, standing in the back of my bedroom, looking intently out my window at the glowing panes across the city, I loosen my dress and let it fall to the floor.