It’s when he’s inside her, busy with the sensation and the rocking of his hips and the balance of the two of them on the bed, that she slyly pulls away the curtain. He hardly notices. He is guiding her hips but also taking pleasure in the view of her back, the way it turns into her shoulders blades and the tender part of her neck. Her moans are loud and all he can think of is the curve of her torso, the sounds she seems to be emitting directly into his brain.
It isn’t until he’s close to orgasm, his face warbling into strange, animalistic shapes, that he looks straight ahead and sees, through his window, into the room of his next door neighbor's. The kid is there, a fourteen-year-old boy who has his hands plowed deep into his sweatshirt pockets, his eyes wide and focused on the action across the alley. But he is too close, it doesn’t matter that the sight of this boy upsets him; his eyes close hard and his mouth emits a cry that he has never quite noticed, engulfed as he is in the wash of pleasure, pushing his hips one last time, letting himself fall onto her back, kissing her shoulder blades, forgetting about the boy.
Later they are sitting on the porch. She has the quiet calmness of after-sex that he finds incredibly powerful. He looks to create this in her as much as he can, though he is open to admitting that perhaps he cannot create it in her as much as she would like. They watch the street. They watch the leaves tussle on the footpath and the occasional car go by. They talk, sometimes, about the rest of the day, their plans for the coming week, the pockets of stress that seem out of reach. They hear a door open, shut, the scurrying of a dog at the end of its lease and the boy from next door appears, his sweatshirt hanging heavily on his shoulders.
She is quick to say hi, a wide, calm grin showing no sign of concern. He, for a moment, had forgotten the sight of the neighbor boy, had forgotten the momentary locking of eyes, the slight second of revulsion, but before he can comprehend a respectable response their eyes meet again, some kind of strange communication that scurries about within him, neither knowing exactly what is going on.
Katy Ilonka Gero is a renaissance artist with work across writing, painting, photography, and beautiful objects. She can't settle on a medium or a topic: she spends one summer writing poetry about consciousness expanding and the next making giant paintings of jellyfish.