André Stanley, Year 12
“I’m home,” were the words that echoed through his hollow apartment and met with no response. David was consistent in his unavailing attempts to obtain closure in what he considered was his desolate life. A dead-end accounting job and failure on the human relationships front, the constant buzzing of traffic forty-six stories below were, bleakly and often, his only companions. Apartment Building 12, a cheap, late on maintenance and rundown repossessed office building retrofitted into a substandard residence that David was imposed to live within, an adult sized guinea pig cage. In this part of town, row upon row of apartment and office buildings had been planted like a crazy architect’s vegetable garden. Opposite to David’s monolithic row stood a state-of-the-art apartment block – Apartment Building 13, separated by ten lanes of roadway, unreachable by David. He was however unaffected by this seemingly juxtaposed state of living as he had her. The woman who lived on the forty-sixth floor of Block 13… his very own Eve.
Proceeding the habitual hanging of his jacket, pouring a glass of wine and checking the cameras, David was struck by the obvious silence that walked his hallways. “My day was fairly monotonous,” he said to the photograph. “Matt was trying to grab the attention of Hannah but then… Matt, the socially reptilian master….”. Matt, a fellow office worker who seemed to be the exact opposite of David, had a strong head of hair and gifted facial features, irresistible to almost any woman. With a jealous obsession David often studied key aspects of Matt’s personality and features as a hobby. Whether that be his unnecessarily long hair length, always making any woman giggle whenever he wanted her to or his signature golden ring with three ocean blue sapphires encrusted in the surface. A one of a kind accessory, hypnotizing to any money-hungry woman. David rambled on about his jealousies of Matt to the photographs in his living room in an attempt to disrupt the quiet, a normal strategy that he used every evening in order to comfort himself and to expel some energy. Self-soothing.
Differing from the ordinary ornamental items that hang on walls of family homes, David was quite fond of displaying his own photographs in collages around his apartment. On the walls of his entry hallway, around the kitchen and in his bedroom, a single room was never without a photograph. Lounging on the sofa David gazed past the tripod and through his window looking directly towards her living room. No lights were on. She is not home. “Probably out partying again,” he snickered. She had left her blinds to her bedroom open this time. David could not resist the urge to pry. The room was chaos. A bed that was not made, the sheets covered almost every part of her room but the mattress, click. Copious amounts of clothes covered the room from one corner to the next, click. David could not distinguish where one piece of clothing started and the other one ended, click. The wardrobe was spewing forth rather than sucking in. The unpredictable and disorganized nature of her life style excited David. All of her apartment was a clutter, so finally witnessing the bedroom’s state was no surprise to him. He was the opposite. Keeping a very organized and structured living area was very important to David. His stomach grumbled, breaking his eagle focus. It was time for dinner.
Classical orchestra filled the air throughout the forty-sixth floor, a personal favourite genre of David’s. Cooking dinner was one of the few ways that he could really express himself. David began to assemble ingredients, taking utensils and pans out as he prepared, whilst also being accompanied by a generous glass of Shiraz, a most favoured assistant in the kitchen. “Tonight’s meal will be parmesan-crumbled lambs brains,” he announced to his collage on the kitchen wall as he began cooking. Producing a meal held more significance to him than just the physicality of the dish. It wasn’t just about using the perfect ingredients or having a flawless technique, but the emotion and energy that surged through the essence of the meal. Every manoeuvre David made reverberated with a master’s technique, making it appear to be progressively easier as he constructed each delicious component. Concomitantly he assembled the dinner table. A rose red tablecloth draped over each end with freshly polished silverware laying atop, lit up by candlelight. A lone photograph lay rested against the base of the candle stand. A glamorous display was nothing but orderly in David’s dinner preparation ritual.
“Ah, dinner is ready,” David rings. Lifting the lid off the pan, a beautiful aroma strikes almost instantly, an obvious sign of success. To his delight, he had yet again created a marvelous dish. He never felt alone at dinner, as he always had her by his side. Smirking, like a juvenile boy, every time he looked up at the photograph while he ate, he spent countless time with her, just looking. As the last drip of wax melted off the candle a spark of light was captured in the side of David’s eye – she had arrived home.
Rushing over to his window, David frantically set up the camera stand. Amongst the overwhelming excitement he did not attach the zoom lens. She looked exhausted. “Definitely been out partying again,” David said in pride to himself whilst she walked into the kitchen to freshen up. Crouched down leaning up against the window, in a highly vulnerable position to be seen, he watched her. The underlying thrill of risk at being caught was a drug in itself for David, turning him into an adrenaline junky within these high-risk moments. The pre-eminence of her beauty seemed to radiate more so through a lens to David. She started to move towards the bedroom, click. He could feel his heartbeat rising, pumping even more vigorously the more he focused. Arriving at the bed she slowly began to lift her shirt, click. Stopping just before revealing any breast and dropping the shirt back, kneeling down to the floor looking like she had dropped something underneath her bed, click. As she stood up she looked up directly in David’s direction. Instantaneously he dived like an acrobat out of the way, knocking over everything in his path including the tripod and camera, an eventual burst of his stored up adrenaline. Agitatedly crawling underneath his dining table, he was stuck in a pit of embarrassment. David was left unaware of whether she had finally seen him or not – only time would tell.
Waking a few hours later with a horrible neck stiffness, David crawled out of his cover. Slowly, like a mouse at midnight trying to step without a sound, he made his way over to the battered camera. Looking over at her apartment building, he noticed that she had gone to bed and turned off all the lights. “Thank goodness she did not see me,” he thought in relief. Raising the camera from the floor he saw there was still three percent battery, a last drip of power, just enough to check if the photos were saved. As he shifted through the photo library of the camera he noticed that one photo had a particularly strange glare. Originating from her bedside table, an object was reflecting the lights from the traffic below. Intrigued by what it was exactly, David attached the zoom lens and had a second peek at her room. Eagerly zooming in, David had just enough light glowing from below to highlight the object’s ghastly qualities… three ocean blue sapphires, encrusted within a glistening golden ring.