Alison breathed in the freshness of the early morning air. Coils of coffee steam spiralled up as the morning gently begin to wake her. She gazed out at the view from their new house.
After years of city living, squashed in amongst their neighbours and their cars, dogs and children, their quarrels, their politics; separated from bedroom intimacies by a thin plasterboard wall, the peacefulness of the country was a literal breath of fresh air.
And then she looked across to the window of their only neighbour for miles and a spike of revulsion made her start.
“He’s doing it again!” she wailed smacking her cup down with a splash.
It was like passing a car crash; the horror of it, the distress, the compulsion to look overriding the abhorrence. Dave shuffled over in his tatty dressing gown and peered out.
“Jesus, it’s early to be seeing that” he said, but he left the window and began getting ready for work as if nothing was wrong.
That was the one downside. Every morning at 8.30 by the open window. It was unremittingly awful. The spiky hedgehog of pubes peeking through his Downward Dog, the jangling of genital offal as he leaned weightily into Warrior Two…
Worse, when he’d seen Alison staring, open mouthed at him, fleshy, exposed, sweat dribbling down his thighs, he’d just waved cheerily at her and carried on. As if naked windowside yoga was normal behaviour.
“Just don’t look at him, love” called Dave from the bathroom and Alison turned from the spoiled view, feeling sullied.
They saw him, Ralph, that evening. Fully clothed now and lifting shopping from his car he called a cheery hello. Alison returned a tight lipped smile, not knowing where to look, not knowing what to say.
In bed that night she turned over.
“We have to do something”
“Hmmm? About what now, love?
“About Ralph. It’s every day. I shouldn’t have to see that when I look out of my window.”
“Oh, he’s nice enough if you talk to him. I bet it feels great doing exercise with that view”
“I can’t talk to him I can’t look him in the eye because I keep thinking about how I saw his bollocks this morning. You’re going to have to say something to him.”
“Because I can’t. It would be inappropriate. Maybe you can nip over before he starts tomorrow? Please?”
“Fine. But only because I love you.” He kissed her and switched off his light.
When Alison woke up Dave had gone. She sprawled luxuriantly, starfishing out over his side of the bed before slipping out from the warm sheets and boiling the kettle. How lovely it would be to stare out over the unblemished countryside at last.
As the kettle rumbled to its climax Alison poured the coffee and pulled open the curtains to drink in the view. Her eyes were drawn, inevitably, to Ralph’s empty window.
Only, of course, it wasn’t empty. Not one naked man, but two, lunging, leaning, spreading across Alison’s view. As Dave swept down in a forward fold he her caught sight of her and lifted his hand to wave, then unapologetically squatted, spread-kneed into crow pose.