In the mornings when I swim, before I get into the pool I look up at the apartments around me. Crowding around like still giants.
Sometimes I sit there for who knows how long and I pick a window, even though I can’t see much of what or who is inside I imagine their world and their life.
Each window has a story. It’s always morning and someone is going to work.
They use the same lights I do but they probably have a toaster which I don’t have. I use the grill, too much clutter with a toaster.
Today, this guy is going to work, he’s eating dry toast and watching the news while he drinks a milky coffee. The apartment smells like toast. The TV volume is low and the bedroom door is closed- someone is still sleeping.
Who is it? Maybe it’s his wife or boyfriend. What if he’s divorced and this is the day he has custody of his daughter?
Shouldn’t she be getting up for school though? Maybe it’s school holidays. Is it? I can’t even remember.
He looks out the window and thinks about his day ahead. All those meetings to get through until the end of the day.
I wonder if his job is stressful? Does it pay well?
The guy takes a swig of coffee and another bite of the crunchy toast. He’s dressed a bit more nicely than usual because he’s going out after work. I wonder where he’s going?
Would he give me a second look if he passed me in the street? Have we ridden the elevator at the same time before?
I turn my attention back to the room and see the bedroom door opening slowly. An older woman comes out in a nightie. He looks up and says one word but I can’t make it out. He doesn’t smile.
Is that his mother? Or is he just into older women? Could even be his sister. Not everything has to be sexual.
She frowns at him but still heavy with sleep doesn’t have the energy to do much more.
The toast smell is going into the bedroom now with the door wide open. The older woman shuffles over to the kitchen before grabbing a white mug, starts making herself a coffee but stops short of pouring the hot water and milk in.
She pauses for a moment, looking up and sighs before shuffling back into the bedroom and closing the door.
Did they have a fight? They seem to be going through something awkward. I hope he isn’t hitting her.
The man leaves his plate, mug with some coffee at the table. Does he really expect her to clean it up? Typical.
He puts on his shoes, picks up a sorry looking leather suitcase before walking out the door. I hear the slam and it seems signify the end of this little story.
They real occupants will never know that I was imagining their lives and I’ll never know what their real lives are like.
I come back into myself and blank for a moment. I’m exhausted. Looking up at the window once more. I can’t physically see any of what I just saw in my mind.
I need to swim.
I don’t hesitate a moment longer and slip into the cool, calm water.