He hadn't meant to spy on her, honest, it was an accident. At first anyway. She lived in the house across the street, married with kids, beautiful but clearly had forgotten her graces. Long silky black hair shoved into a worn out scrunchy or one of those plastic clips women wore too much. Usually sweats and tshirts, loose and not particularly flattering. He hadn't been attracted to her, he had been testing out his new telescopic camera.
The first night he saw her, he was on the rooftop balcony wanting to get a fix on the transition of Titan across Saturn. It had been visible in a rare window of time, and he had been able to get some photos the last few nights. That night, there were too many lowlying clouds. So, Jacob decided to check out the details of the shorter range lenses, and turned the scope around the neighborhood, fixing on rooflines and flower beds and bumper stickers and toys left in the yards of the neighbors. He caught his first spy glimpse of Veronica through her front window, curtains were open and it was dark enough outside that he didn't pick up any reflection from the front glass.
She was arguing with her husband, he presumed. Her husband was out of view, but he could see her standing and waving arms, and the arms and belly of her husband flew in and out of sight. He quickly turned the scope elsewhere, not wanting to pry, not wanting to know. But then he found himself worrying about her in the days that followed, watching her ferry her children to and from the home, always by herself, loading and unloading the minivan of children, groceries, toys. Her husband wasn't working right now, Jacob could see him through the glass, watching tv or playing video games when Veronica was gone. Jacob didn't get a good view of her face until about a week or so of random views.
And he was struck. This girl, this woman, had been his secret crush in highschool. He had spent a year in Dallas as a foreign exchange student, his family living in Nuremberg. His father German, his mother American. Veronica kept to herself, mostly, usually looked a little sad and alone, and in a hurry to be somewhere, anywhere else. He felt a kindred spirit in her, as his year away was to soften the blow of his mother leaving his father and relocating to California. He knew her family life was hard, and being Jewish in Texas was not easy. He suffered enough the taunts of the students about the Nazis, when would Americans learn their history? Once, he tried to talk to her, waiting by her locker, but this bruiser she was dating walked up just before he got the courage to speak up. She didn't even register him standing there, her eyes were cast down the whole time. And now here she was, living in the house across the cul-de-sac. With another bruiser and two children, same sad eyes.
Jacob wanted so much to go over and help her, to say something, to offer himself to her service but did not know what to do. Her husband could probably take him down, the guy must be at least 250 and pretty tall. He was afraid to keep looking, to see too much, and he was afraid to look away. He was mesmerized. She was still so beautiful, just a bit older, and so fragile looking behind her steel shell of motherhood. He had been married himself, but his wife could not handle being tied to a quiet and rational man, and she took off after about two years of wedded agony. He tried dating here and there, but most California women really wanted a man who was brash and pushy, and very focused on appearance. Jacob was okay looking, medium build and soft curly light brown hair, but wasn't interested much in fashion . He drove a Honda hybrid and recycled, and made inventions from household items. He was a psychology professor now, it went with his soft spoken approach to life. Women still didn't notice him.
He caught sight of Veronica naked one day, and became transfixed. She had accidentally left the shades up in the upstairs bathroom. He looked over at the "new" object in his path- a lighted room not viewed before- to see her pearly white skin emanating steam as she stepped out from a shower. The window was open, and he could see through the gap between the sill and the sash. Her breasts were full but still held their shape, and her curves moved in where they should, and fanned out into beautiful hips like the body of a cello. Her long black hair was wet, and dripped down her back as she reached for a robe hanging by the window. Her arm was raised and held the window frame. She just stood there, unselfconsciously, staring out at the night, eyes fixed on a distant object, her breasts shining gloriously. She looked neither happy nor sad, just forlorn.
Jacob was surprised to find himself hard just from watching her soft form stand still. He had long ago enured to the bodies of coeds and the images of porn that never seemed to escape his inbox in the forms of come-ons and invitations from Russian mail order brides and webcams of housewives in lingerie. Or worse. He had almost developed a kind of contempt for the overtly sexual female, he could not escape her gaze without effort. It made relationships difficult, he preferred to go slowly, to be more formal. His collection of Byron and Shelley and Yeats set the tempo for his desires, slow and smouldering, hidden and dark, yearning for his one true love to release him. His ex wife was not that woman, but she had hurt him horribly. He had not been able to find attraction since the divorce. And now the familiar pulling in his loins stirred his consciousness, as if waking him from a deep sleep. Jacob the protector, the defender, the lover... There stood Veronica in the window, gazing into the Los Angeles sky as if she was waiting for something, anything, to come and rescue her from this life. She had the look of princesses, trapped in the tower of an ogre. Jacob could see she loved her children desperately, she must, or why would she stay? Her youngest, a son, appeared mildly handicapped, it was hard to see from his perch if it was just physical or mental or emotional. He clung to her skirts, her pants, her hand, her purse. Whatever was in reach. The oldest, the sister, was always carrying a book. He remembered Veronica in English composition, always writing stories that stood head and shoulders above the other students. Stories of family feuds and clans and deep blood revenge, of ancient rituals and mystical realms, the myths and wisdom of Scottish rites, Templar Knights and Freemasons. They were a bit odd for a teenage girl, but a delight for a lonely boy living in the fortress of his own imagination.
Jacob wanted to reach out to her somehow, and he didn't want to lose his secret view into her life. Certainly, he could not mention the telescope or anything he had overseen from his illicit nights watching for signs of life from their house. What would he say? Veronica, Veronica Wolf, didn't we go to highschool together? It's me, Jacob. I always thought you were so beautiful, and I am here to rescue you. To love you as you need to be loved, to cherish you as you need to be cherished. I want to kiss your face and neck and arms and belly, to cover you with my love and my desire, to protect you from all that is bad.
Jacob sighed and shook his head, and capped his telescope. He would have to find another way to get into her life, and she would have to be the one to invite him into her heart. He decided to leave a note in her mailbox, he had already noted that she picked it up every afternoon coming from the minivan in the driveway to the front door. Her husband parked his truck in the garage, and presumably entered the house that way. Jacob found a simple card and envelope, he had a fondness for writing on stationery, and penned a simple note.
--I thought you might want a friend.--
No, that wouldn't work. Why would he presume she didn't have any?
--Come over for coffee, dear neighbor. It is time we became acquainted.--
He thought of signing his name, but a sudden impulse to bring a smile of curiosity to her face got the best of him. Their highschool band had a mascot, and he had the honors of playing him while he was there. He smirked and wrote-
From, Mr. Sunshine
Chapter 1 of a few, to be continued....
(NB: This post was written with the permission and informed consent of those named. Creative license has been taken with reality).