The characters in this quartet of stories are intelligent, sensitive and literary. They are also supremely voyeuristic and open-minded. Their intelligence is counterbalanced by inhibitions, which they can only lose by premeditated seduction scenarios, which relate intimately to their professional, creative and cultural lives. The great effort each couple puts into arranging a scenario seems to enhance the quality of the experience. A great source of inspiration for this and other works has been the novel The Girl Beneath the Lion by André Pieyre de Mandiargues.
Bethesda and Hector, the two objects of mutual desire, recently moved, at roughly the same time, but unknown to each other, into 10th floor apartments in facing tower blocks. Both were workaholics and frequently laboured on their terminals through the night. Both were shy, but they ached inside for a charismatic stranger. Both found it hard to initiate conversation and wondered if some sign language could help to break the ice.
Taking a breather from his tiresome statistical database, Hector looked out of his window and saw that the apartment facing his did not have its curtain drawn. He could see its warm, reddish light and a full-length mirror on its wall. His own form must have been clearly visible from the other apartment. He caught a glimpse of a tall, graceful figure of a woman in a maroon dressing gown. His heart fluttered, but as her face turned towards the window, shy politeness took over. He felt she might resent the presence of a voyeur and so drew his curtains and return to his toils.
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Traci E. Hall
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