Naked

Claire walked around her apartment naked simply because she didn’t care. Cooking, cleaning, reading– all naked. She was on the ninth floor and left the windows open. She could have a hundred people watching her every day, a creep could have started recording her movements and posting it on the internet. Probably did. But none of it mattered to her. So what.

She thought she’d never see any of them in real life. A thousand people could watch her doing the most private thing and it would make no difference to her because they were all strangers. Plenty of days she would go out on her balcony and look down at the world, waving to tourists who happened to notice, and she’d smile and think, “Yeah, get a load of this. Here’s New York for you. We don’t give a fuck.”

But then one day somebody recognized her in the grocery store. She was in the dairy aisle picking up milk and lunch meat when a man with dark eyes and blonde hair put a hand on her arm and said, “Hey. You’re the woman on the ninth floor.”

She just looked at him.

“It’s you. I’m sure it’s you. I see you all the time,” he said.

Claire pulled her arm from his grasp. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, boredom dripping from her voice. But when she got home and put her groceries away, she left her clothes on until she went to bed.

The next morning she woke with the sun on her back. She sat up, realized she was late for work, and ran around her apartment in a flurry. When she was almost out the door, she realized she forgot her coffee mug on the kitchen table. She ran back to get it, but when she got to the kitchen she stopped and walked up to the window. She looked out at the city, at the mass of people and buildings spread out before her.

In the building directly across from her, a naked man stood in a window holding up a neon orange sign that said: I SEE YOU. He had blonde hair and was smiling. For a moment she was caught in his gaze, a line that tethered her to him in a sea of faces, and she smiled back across the vast cavern between them. Then she took a sip of her coffee, turned around, and went out the door.