That Gorgeous Man in the Window

Ashley Mueth

Absent-mindedly looking out the mildewed window
Counting the days, minutes, seconds, until she’d catch
A glimpse of his dark lashes, brown eyes, and quirky smile
And hear his laugh. She’d give anything to hear that laugh once more
Trace his smirk, as he sipped his black coffee and smoked a cigarette.
For her, he was a drug, a high that would carry her through
the fucking lonely days, while she stared at the walls,
Hoping to feel something like passion or excitement for the mundane things, Her
everyday life.

She’d sip her black coffee and write and stare out the window, but she felt empty
Thinkin’ back on the days that her dad packed her,
Her favorite hash browns and her favorite Scooby Doo fruit snacks, because she’d feel
too sick to eat anything else.
Those days her father was happy watching a football game and eating Doritos on the

That is, until he became sick, and could no longer talk to her, and she’d wish he could
eat again.

Some days she felt alone, like no one understood her, until she saw him. The boy with
the dark eye lashes and dimples that transferred to fourth grade in February.
But they never uttered one single word. He didn’t notice her, so she thought.

She looks at the gorgeous man in the cafe window, remembering that laugh, regretful
that she’d never share a “life” with him because she was too afraid to say “hello”.
As the years passed by, she watched him raise his clever daughter into a young
woman–but he withered away as the years went by. He had stomach cancer.
That gorgeous man became skin-and-bones,
Despairing over the fact that his life was over,
Now that–he could no longer eat a cheap cafe cheeseburger.
His laughs became tears. The vomiting was so intense that it burned his esophagus. He
held his daughter, reminding her that life and death are beautiful.
He painted portraits for families that’d survive him.

She wondered what life would be like if she held him, just once, to let him know that
he wasn’t alone. She caught a glimpse of his dark lashes, his brown eyes, and quirky
She’d give anything to hear that laugh once more.

At eighty-eight years old she’d cling to his strong cologne, red flannel t-shirt, and
black-rimmed glasses across the room. Soon enough she’d say “hello”.