Contributed by Emily Hoover

As I sit alone on my front porch, blanketed by darkness, smoking cigarettes naked, I am prompted—even compelled—to gaze outward, through the trees and into the window of my neighbor’s house.

The house embodies Victorian architecture, so aged, tattered, and worn that the blue color has faded to a dull gray.

Inside is a child’s room. Long brown hair and fuzzy pajamas, the girl cannot be more than ten years old. Her mother, young, tramp stamped, and beaten down by life, leaves her daughter’s blinds open out of negligence as she welcomes strange men into the house; a different one a night, but the same routine.

I do not know much about the child, but I do know that she does not play outside on cool summer evenings. Her only babysitter is the television set. Perhaps she opens the blinds herself, if only to catch a glimpse of the outside world.

Devoid of natural light, my third story tree-top apartment keeps me hidden. I feel like a voyeur; almost dirty. I feel like Jimmy Stewart in “Rear Window.”

It must be later than 2, I think to myself, watching the wind take my cigarette embers and allowing the gentle breeze to kiss my flesh. I wish the same for this child, repressed by Cartoon Network captivity.

She kisses the television set, exploring the ocean depths with Dora the Explorer. Puedo jugar en la playa. Nado en el mar. Todo es bueno.

If I could see her face, I hope she would be smiling.

This piece of literary work was contributed for our Creative section.
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