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My best friend, Emilia, immediately jumped up on our kitchen counter, in order to try and see out of our window, over the fence, and into his. On her knees on our draining board, craning her neck, she still couldn't see. Next thing I knew she was standing on our windowsill behind the kitchen sink. I'm pretty sure the amount of alcohol and weed she had taken in had made her feel like this was a good idea.
Though the sight was quite comical, I couldn't help but feel anxious. What if he saw her? What would he think? What would he think of us? Would he think it was me? My mind was racing. Our guests had now accumulated around the window in the kitchen and abandoned whatever activities they were previously involved in.
"He's just fucking sitting there?!" she exclaimed. "What a fucking weirdo, he's just sitting at his kitchen table staring into space! What a knobhead!"
This was just like her. Absolutely, no filter. She would say whatever came into her head, whenever it came into her head, no matter what company she was in. I stupidly felt like he might hear her, and begged her to get down in between nervous giggles. It was as though she couldn't hear me. She started describing the small amounts of his kitchen that she could see.
"Oh my god! There is shit EVERYWHERE! He doesn't even have a light shade over the bulb. He's just fucking sitting there!" she repeated.
The next thing I knew, she had jumped down quicker than she had gotten up there in the first place. Her big blue eyes were wide and her pupils had reduced to the size of a pinprick. She put her hand to her mouth, and after a few seconds of silence she began to laugh uncontrollably. Typical Em. Completely erratic and nonsensical.
"What's the matter with you?" I laughed.
When she caught her breath in between hysterics she said "He saw me!"
I went cold. "What?! What do you mean?" I asked.
"He looked up at me. Fucking creepy bastard, he is," she giggled, and skipped off back to the living room to continue her evening. Content with her recent discovery.
I was screaming inside, my anxieties had gripped me. To her this was just a game, but I was the one who had to live next to him for years to come. What if I bumped into him in the street? What if he thought she was me? We're both blonde, and at such a short glance it would be understandable for people to mistake us. They used to call us 'The Twins' at school.
At this stage, I was petrified that my strange neighbour would think that I was the one trying to pry into his privacy. We hadn't lived here long, I had no idea what he was capable of, and more often than not, the unknown encourages our imagination to torture us.
I walked into the other room to join our guests. "What did he look like?" I couldn't help but ask.
"Just fucking creepy," she replied with a snigger.
"Yeah, you said that, but what does he look like?" I encouraged.
"Old, fat, dirty. Dark long hair, dark eyes." She was so matter-of-fact. She took a drink as she spoke and started giggling with Chris because she ended up dribbling some of her drink down her front.
By this point I was the only one who was still preoccupied with the incident in the kitchen. The others were laughing, drinking, smoking, and joking. Why did I always have to be the adult? I thought to myself with a half-smile. I figured I would let my hair down for the rest of the evening and try to ignore the worries in my mind.
By 3:00 AM, we were all playing a card game, lying over each other on our new sofas, chucking cards at each other when it was our turn to put one in. It made sense to us, but I imagine if someone sober had have walked in, we would have looked like we were in the day room of a mental institute.
During the silent anticipation between songs, we heard a bang. I jumped to the window and edged the blinds aside. I saw a man of average height, approximately 5'8'', of stocky build, swaying down the path from the alleyway, in between our house and number 17. I thought he was hooded at first, but then I realised his thick black, greasy hair was quite long, and in the dark of the night, it was difficult to distinguish between his hair and his dark leather coat. I watched as he stumbled towards the public footpath and turned right.
"That's him!" Em shouted and squealed with excitement. "Where the fuck is he off to at this hour? Creepy fuck."
As though he had heard her, he stopped and looked back over his shoulder to see us peering through the blind, like children on Christmas Eve spying on their parents placing presents under the tree.
We jumped back quicker than a flash, and Em fell about laughing on the floor. Though those eyes were like black beetles. Glassy and cold. Where was he going at 3:00 AM?