Seasons of Suspense: Summer

Prologue

He watched her. He watched her, like he always did. She was almost annoyingly adherent to her routine – he didn’t have to work too hard to keep track of her. On the days she had to be at work early, she arose at 5:00 am - he could see the light in her kitchen turn on and would watch silently as she made her way down the steps of her squat brick apartment building with her two dogs. She would patiently wait, tired and bleary eyed, as they sniffed the damp grass before they relieved themselves, then took them back inside. At 6:30 am she would re-emerge, dressed and with a travel mug in her hand, and walked to the municipal lot around the corner from her apartment so she could drive to work. On the days she worked the late shift, she was up by 7:30 am and would walk the mile down the street to the gym. Tuesdays were always shoulders and cardio, and Thursdays were always back and cardio. After her workout, she would stop at the store for a snack and walk back home. She’d make lunch – her kitchen window was easily visible from the street – and he’d watch as she chopped and sautéed vegetables and meat, smiling and talking to her two dogs.

He could probably do her grocery shopping for her too - he knew when she was almost out of coffee and when she needed to buy fresh vegetables and meat. 

She never noticed him watching her – always with headphones in her ears, she wound her way around town with a bemused expression on her face. He knew she was listening to podcasts and books on tape – he could tell that she was totally absorbed in them. 

She had seen him a few times, flashing him a half smile as they passed in a store aisle or on the wooded trails she hiked on the weekends, but he could tell she never remembered his face. To her, he was a passerby, a nameless face, a stranger in the crowd. 

But to him, she was everything. He’d watched her for so long, he felt like he breathed with her - his heart beat with hers. He kept telling himself that someday - someday, he would be with her. She might try to fight it, but it would be for the best – he knew her better than anyone else. 

She didn’t know it yet, but today was going to be that day.