Crooked Streets

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This story started as a character study and developed, with the characters telling me who they are.

This is adult material and no children below the age of 18 have permission to read it.

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Chapter 1

“The course of true love never did run smooth.”
Act I, Scene 1, from A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream
– William Shakespeare

From her bedroom window Ann looked out over her postage stamp backyard, down the steep embankment, across the train tracks and down to the river. The setting full moon reflected off the small waves. It made Ann think of a band of fluid gems, flashing low across the night, but somehow scented from the summer. Across the river lay the black bulk of the Catskills, now only a rippling shadow, black against the blue last light of the summer sky. The hills had the shape of a woman lying on her side, under a blanket, hips and shoulders for peaks, waist and knees for valleys.

In her childhood, because this part of town lay next to the river, only life’s dirt washed up in this nowhere of warehouses and whorehouses. Now, because of the view, those rich enough to afford to buy beauty in a city resettled the oldest part of the town.

She bought the building already renovated into a modern home from the shell of a meat warehouse. She then customized to her needs and taste. Ann used only a small part of the proceeds of the lawsuit and her inheritance, and banked the rest. She would never have to work again. She really didn’t want to. Men still dominated accounting. A woman in that career had thousands of obstacles to overcome, without having the extra disabilities the accident left her.

She had pulled out from the new supermarket’s parking lot onto the twisting river road, driving her parents home just as a young man in a fast car came over the hill at nearly eighty. He broadsided her. He killed himself, her mother and father. The accident scraped off the left side of her face, pulled out her left eye, and broke nearly every bone on her left side. The doctors gave her a new hip, a plastic kneecap, a steel pin in her shinbone and a fused left ankle.

They saved her leg, but left her pain and scars. She had even stopped the reconstructive surgery because she wanted freedom from any new pain. Scattered through her home were thermoses Ann kept filled with water and large bottles of aspirin and acetaminophen, so that wherever she was, they would be only a short hobble away. Ann’s pain had good days and bad days. But even on the good days some part always ached, some movement always gave her sharp, sometimes blinding pain.

Then there was the other pain. The pain of missing her parents. Her acquaintances from work had all stopped visiting her while she was still in the hospital. For months after that, the only people Ann spoke to were lawyers, doctors and nurses. Then fewer doctors. After the town, the supermarket and the insurance company settled with her, and she bought her house, she didn’t speak with her lawyers. Within a year, the only people she spoke to were at the plastic surgeon’s or at the various stores Ann placed her phone orders with. Then she stopped the reconstructive surgery, and stopped speaking for days at time. But her being alone helped in a way. She didn’t have to apologize for her disheveled appearance, due to the actual pain of getting dressed. She didn’t have to worry about being gawked at, or pitied. And Ann didn’t have to be afraid to cry when she missed her mom at night. Ann’s solitude solidified, wrapping her in protective layers, like a pearl, or a mummy, insulating her heart from the pain of her fate, giving her, at last, a composure not based in thoughts or words, but in the simplest acts and feelings of continuing to live.

Ann saw her face as half a topological map of scars from the accident and the surgery afterwards, and half herself. Ann knew what she looked like. She knew she was still tall and slimly built, with fair skin made paler from being inside so long. People once told her she could have been a model. Such comments always made her think how shallow the commenter was. Her face was long, with high cheeks and full lips. The little bump in her nose that she thought so cute in high school had been amplified in the accident. She had let her black hair grow into a blunt cut, that she now parted on the right to better hide her eye patch. Since she knew what she looked like, she kept the two mirrors she used to cut her hair in a drawer in the bathroom vanity.

On a whim, while still in the hospital, she had mumbled to her lawyer, “Six million. Two million for each of us.” She hadn’t gotten that much, but the village and the supermarket had settled for an amount that was close enough. The village had since put in traffic lights on the hill and at the supermarket.

So now she had the home of her dreams, at least, on a crooked street that followed the river’s steep bank. She squandered hours just being amazed by the view, while she painfully exercised canlı bahis her half dead left side back to as much life as it would ever have. Her bedroom was her domain. She could manage the stairs, but not easily, so she kept her exercise equipment, books, stereo and the television with VCR in the very large, wood beamed, exposed brick room. She even considered having a stove and fridge installed, but that would give her too good an excuse never to leave.

She walked, as best she could with her cane, to the light switches and turned them all off. In the dark light of the moon, she went back to the big west facing windows and looked out on her neighbors. The house at the end of the street, just turned into condominiums by a speculator, finally had a light on. All the apartments were supposed to be huge one bedrooms, ideal for the upwardly mobile young professional, or so the ad said. Because the street was bent towards the river, and because her building was higher on the riverbank’s slope, she could see in. After a few moments she realized, as the partial image began to make sense, that what she saw was a woman wearing an iridescent turquoise robe, leaning back against cushions, reading a book on her bed. She could see the woman’s face to the eyebrows, and her legs to just above the ankles. The woman had dark hair, shoulder length. She appeared to be a large person, broad shouldered, athletic.

Again she turned to the moon and the river thinking, “Ann, you mustn’t.” She looked around and figured out that none of the other neighbors could even see the new owner’s window, because no other building was as tall as hers, no other building at just this angle. She also could tell that none of the neighbors would ever see her looking. Ann had had enough of the little voice that always told her to be a good girl. She knew that she thought about things too much, and that thinking let in memories, which always led into the downward spiral of heartache. She knew thinking had kept her a captive in her own home, thinking that no one would ever want to, or could stand to, see how she looked after the accident.

Ann, defying her thinking side, true to her feelings, turned back to watch her. The woman had brought her left leg up, to support herself against the pillows, and her robe had parted, showing Ann, inadvertently, that she was nude beneath the robe.

Ann went back into the dark room and dragged her favorite sling chair back to the window, and watched her read. She thought of nothing but felt a warm excitement, a slight tingle of anticipation, that she could, so easily join this woman and remain unknown. There was life beyond her room after all, if only vicarious life. Still, it finally occurred to her, that this could be better than the nothing she felt for so long after the crash, better than the avoidance of people she rigorously practiced.

The woman put her book down, and suddenly got up, leaving her robe on the bed with a shrug. Ann saw her flash by naked as she powered herself gracefully off the bed. A few minutes later, Ann saw the overhead light go out, but a small light that must be near the bed, remained on. The dark haired woman returned to the bed, naked now, and lay back against the cushions, hands behind her head, looking down at her own torso and legs, smiling to herself, at some delight well known to her.

Ann thought that any second the final light would go out and this window to the real world would go dark for her. The dark-haired woman was not, as Ann’s father would have said, “a genuine, pin-up beauty.” But she was real, and whole, and obviously her own person. She had a thin, almost bony face, with a long thin nose, but full lips over a prominent chin.

Her hands slid down and caressed her breasts. The woman’s hands slid lower over her own body, slowly, savoring the sensation. Ann watched as she began to massage her belly, then saw her reach lower again, opening and closing her legs in time to her right hand.

Ann inhaled sharply. She hadn’t expected this.

The woman’s left hand lay across her chest and these fingers swept rapidly over her right nipple and then around it. The woman rocked her hips forward and back, her right hand moving in almost a frenzy, while she bit her bottom lip, eyes closed. Then her mouth shaped an “o” that Ann couldn’t hear, but knew was being whispered, or said or shouted, into her bedroom. The dark haired woman was continuing slower now, but more emphatically, her back was arched, her left hand clutched her right breast. She turned her face left into her pillow, her thighs shaking and wide apart, and pumped her hips down hard, and paused, down hard again and stopped, and rolled slowly to her left side, showing Ann her white buttocks, with her fingertips showing between her thighs, slowly rocking in satiation. After a few minutes, she reached up out of Ann’s view, and the light went out.

Ann moved slowly to her waterbed. Slower than her normal painful pace, immersed in mentally bahis siteleri replaying the scene. She clumsily removed her tee shirt, gym shorts and panties and lay down on the warm, firmly yielding bed. Ann began to masturbate, as she always did just before going to sleep. It was her lullaby and her solace, her way of reminding herself that some part of her body still worked, and could make her happy. Ann couldn’t help visualizing the other woman as she satisfied herself. Ann fell asleep with the image of the woman masturbating, but seen from between Ann’s own legs, above her right hand’s own motions.

The next morning, Ann thought about the night before and envied her. She envied the woman’s completeness, her apparent state of happy self-reliance. Ann envied more the delight the woman took in her own body, the way she looked at herself and smiled. She thought that she might not let herself watch her anymore. But Ann smiled to herself and knew that she would watch. She would simply not think about it. By doing so she would defy that little voice commanding her to be good.

This night was a Friday, and Ann thought that the dark haired woman, usually reading by now, must have a date, or at least something to do. Ann had called to the department store at the mall that would deliver the same day and had bought an iridescent turquoise bathrobe, a small telescope, and a tripod to hold it steady. Her window appeared larger, but otherwise her view was unchanged.

At about eleven, Ann saw her bedroom lights come on. She made it to the light switches, and turned off her own lights. She flung off her tee shirt and gym shorts and panties and put on her new robe, a close match to the other woman’s. She sat down after taking off the lens cover off the telescope.

Seated on the bed and facing into the room was a woman with short blond hair, wearing a white blouse and a gray skirt. This woman had almost a bowl cut, which accented her thin body and face, giving her a pixie look. She was gesturing energetically into the room, obviously talking with someone still unseen. The dark-haired woman came bearing a tray with two round wine glasses, and a wine bottle. She was dressed in a lavender blouse and a tan skirt. She handed one glass to the blond woman, poured her a full portion, kicked off her shoes and took a seat against the pillows, with her feet at an angle, hanging off the bed. The blond woman half turned and continued the conversation, still emphatically gesturing. After a few minutes she moved back on the bed so that the wall supported her and so that she wouldn’t have to half turn to talk. Ann could only see the dark haired woman’s legs at this point.

Ann said, “girl talk,” out loud and switched on a floor lamp behind her and grabbed the mystery she’d been reading. After a chapter, Ann looked again, but the bed was empty. She returned to reading.

A movement caught her eye, and Ann looked again. She saw her, wearing her robe, toweling her hair dry, seated on the bed. She looked up, smiled into the room, and spoke to someone unseen. Then, Ann saw the blond woman, wrapped in large bath towel, tucked in front, seat herself on the bed facing the dark haired woman, and begin toweling her hair dry. Ann saw the blonde’s towel wrapped back, and her arm movements, but the dark haired woman was blocked from her view. The blond kept rubbing, then suddenly the towel she was wrapped in fell off, and there was a pair of arms around her, caressing her nude back.

Ann kept watching, defiantly not thinking, and turned off the lamp behind her. She untied her robe and opened it.

The blond woman turned and laid back on the bed. Ann saw her stand, walk into the room, the overhead light went out, and she returned into Ann’s view, shrugging off her robe. She lay down next to the blonde then kissed her neck as she put her hand on the blonde’s belly, slowly circling. The blond turned to face her, smiling, and then rolled to her, stroking her face and kissing her lips. The brunette pulled the blonde to her in a bear hug, rolled to her back, while inserting her thigh between the blonde’s legs. Still kissing, the blond reached to the other’s belly, to her triangle, and started to finger her sex, while the blonde’s hips slowly began to flex up and down against the brunette’s raised thigh.

Ann’s own fingers began massaging her clitoris. She felt desire, but her strongest desire was to keep watching, keep feeling the pleasure that others were bringing to themselves, and, unknowingly, to her. She wanted this pleasure that came to her so secretly and so boldly, that gave her others’ lives, without having to show her scars. To expose herself to pleasure, without having to risk rejection, or worse, pity. And yet Ann thought that she wanted her to know she was watching, to let her know someone else loved looking at her, as she loved looking at herself.

The blonde’s back first bent up then down as she dragged her clitoris against the brunette’s thigh. bahis şirketleri She was squirming from the effects of the blonde’s fingers, rocking her own hips in time to the blond woman’s hip’s time, in time to the blonde’s hand. Ann felt her own pleasure building, and wished that this night would last a long, long time.

They all brought off their orgasms together, Ann timing her own with theirs. Ann kept watching as the two women kept necking and kept giving each other pleasures, giving herself pleasure as they did. Ann’s wish for a long night was granted.

Ann slept late. Almost in her sleep, still ringing with pleasure, Ann had found herself making a decision. She treasured being alone. But she realized that feeling was a trap that allowed her to avoid people, avoid confronting her disability, her shattered face and limbs. She didn’t want to be stared at, and that was the excuse that kept her a prisoner. She heard the world calling. A new world. A world of acceptance, she hoped. She fervently hoped so.

The camera arrived in the early afternoon. Ann assembled it, clumsily, as she did everything, mounting it on the tripod, and inserting a tape. She stripped off her tee shirt and gym shorts and put on the turquoise robe. Ann pointed the camera at her waterbed, turned it on and got onto the bed. She arranged herself and the covers so her left side was hidden. Later, she thought, she would simply record over this beginning so that her audience would only see her from the bed. She slowly, began to massage her breasts with her right hand, and savoring, stroked her body. She raised her right leg and masturbated thinking only of the women she had witnessed last night. Her orgasm shook her, and moaning she kept masturbating and gave herself another more massive orgasm, several minutes later. Still she continued, her hips bucking into the rhythm set by the waterbed. Ann used her fingers on herself faster and faster until she moaned then shouted out a strong orgasm that left her sweating and shaking, knees pumping together and apart in the afterglow. She rocked herself in pleasure calming herself and then lay still for a few minutes, got up and turned off the camera.

Ann jotted down the number in the counter on the camera where the tape ended. She replayed herself and watched through the camera’s eyepiece. The tape was better than she had hoped. Ann rewound the tape and erased the beginning by recording with the lens cap on. Then she fast-forwarded to the number she had written down.

Ann took off the lens cap, started to record, but sat down out of the camera’s view.

“I wanted to return the favor, the gift that you have given me. With something of the same,” Ann looked at the side of the camera, and continued. “I’m a neighbor of yours and I can see in your bedroom window. I live by myself. You’ve seen my good side, literally. I was in an accident, and my left side is not quite presentable. I want you to know about me, but I don’t want to actually meet you. It’s my scars. I don’t have any mirrors out, for instance. But I want to be able to see you, to look out my window and see you give and take pleasure. It’s the best thing that has happened to me in the two years since the wreck. I feel half alive, instead of more than half dead. Thanks. Thank you…”

Ann paused the camera whirred softly. “I know this is really selfish, but I’m all I’ve got, so I get a little selfish sometimes. I’d love it if I could hear you talk to your lovers. I mean, would you mind terribly if I, well, would you mind making me some tapes?” Ann had said it finally. “I’d love to be there as much as I could. But I don’t want to meet you. I don’t want to meet anyone. Ever. I, quite frankly, am scared to death of seeking pity, and being pitiful, and of all the passive aggressive nonsense that all that implies. I’d rather be alone. But I want to watch you and your lovers. And to hear you. I want to listen to your talks at dinner, to be in the bathroom when you take showers, to be there when you are just there with them, being who you are. Can you do this? Is this asking too much? I’m rich enough to buy another camera, or give you what you want, to do this for me. Would you?”

Ann got up, and turned off the camera. She had stopped just before the tears came. She rewound the tape again, removed it, put it in its box and wrapped it, the occasional tear sprinkled on the plain brown paper. She had figured out the address and got her name from the new telephone listings. She wrote the name and address on the package, put her own name on for the return, put several dollars of postage on it and put it in her mailbox, limping back upstairs. In grade school Ann had learned that it’s best to be nervous after one performed on stage, or spoke before the class. Not before, and certainly never during. She had performed this one woman, three act play, at first joyfully, then solemnly, finally doggedly. Mercifully, Ann heard the postman take the package within an hour. In less than an hour, the dire warfare between her heart and her mind had stripped off all the layers of her hard won composure, like so many soiled bandages. She fought, and felt she very nearly died, on the side of her heart, and won.

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