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Stalking Love -- Writer's Poke #358

Tomek likes to watch. Sort of.

For the past year, Tomek has watched an older woman who lives across the courtyard in his apartment complex. He has her schedule down to the minute, and he sets his alarm to correspond to when she arrives home.

She entertains different “gentleman callers,” but Tomek isn’t interested in watching her sexual exploits. His brand of voyeurism is much more pure than that. In fact, when he can figure out a way to kill the mood, so to speak, he’ll do so. His masterpiece: calling the gas company to report a leak in her apartment. That kills the mood, for sure, and Tomek smiles at his cleverness.

His landlady is his absent-friend’s mother. She worries about his love life, but she recognizes that he’s shy, or as she describes him, “gentle.” Does she know that Tomek has a telescope in his room and has been watching a woman with it? Yes, she probably knows, but she doesn’t confront Tomek about it. Rather, she simply encourages him not to be ashamed to bring a girl over. Her not-so-subtle hints indicate that she believes that his becoming involved with a girl his own age would cure him of his nightly observations.

What exactly does Tomek gain by watching the woman across the courtyard? Would it be too much to suggest that what he’s experiencing is actually love, that he actually can “love” this woman from the distance decreased by telescope’s aid?

“There’s a fine line between serendipity and stalking.” – David Coleman


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