You don't know it, but you're the villain in my story. Everyone labels you the good guy. Class president, lead in the school play, girlfriend of the hottest player on the basketball team.
Do you even know your victim? Do you recognize the face that's been waiting for you to falter, waiting for their chance to be the star?
I doubt it.
I hope you choke on your oatmeal.
I watch you through your kitchen window like I have for years. I've seen my plot line unfold in your life, because you beat me to it. You don't choke on your oatmeal because you blew on it like a smart girl, one who doesn't want to scald her throat before the last run through tonight, because the chorus girl can't be more than an understudy.
Do I even have a name to you?
Yesterday at practice, when you tripped on the yellow brick road, who was there to catch you? You can't honestly say that you called me Munch because it's a nickname based off the role I play. I'm just another munchkin to you. It's not like I've lived next door for the past year and a half.
Your windows line up with ours. I don't think you've ever noticed, but I sure have. I can see your kitchen and bedroom, and all those days you would lay in the lawn this summer, trying to get a tan.
I remember laying next to my fence, hoping that you'd notice me. Hoping that you'd ask to share my tanning lotion because I'm golden. Rather, my skin is.
You stood up, burnt, cursed at the sun, as if it was its fault you didn't come prepared. Your back was red for a week.
I had gone for my mail when you did. I pretended to just notice your burn.
"I have some aloe for that," I'd said.
It took me a moment to realize you had your airpods in. It took another to figure out that you had smiled at the other person on the line.
That wasn't my 'sure.' I wish I'd known that before I tore a leaf off my plant.
Your boyfriend is at the door. I can tell because he knocks loudly, too loudly, like the whole neighborhood needs to know that he wants your attention. He has a phone. I know he does, because I've saw you sit and wait for his call hours after you met, staring at your phone until it rang. It was only a reminder for the dentist office. That's when he had called, and you had to call back after he didn't leave a voicemail. He'd made some joke about oral hygiene and kissing.
Speakerphone and open windows don't really mix, do they?
I hadn't caught all the words until you were shouting them at your best friend, because excitement doesn't have a mute button with you. You're loud and proud, and freaking out, because he was your first kiss.
He used tongue. It startled you. I wanted to lean over the fence and say congrats. It had been all you talked about all week.
I wasn't trying to spy on you. I'd been tending to the weeds along the edge. You'd been canoodling in the corner where you thought nobody could see you.
Hello, I'm Nobody.
You finally let your boyfriend in. I can see him in the kitchen, your oatmeal abandoned on the table. You've found a better breakfast, and take to eating his face off. I have to turn away.
Summer is over. It's too cold for the window to be open, but I can pretty much read the narrative.
"Are your parents home?" He asks.
"No," you say, or some sort of variation. They left last night. You were talking about it at practice, how they'd left you home alone because you needed to be here for rehearsals. They'd left the number for the neighbors with you. The other neighbors. I'm pretty sure our parents don't know each other exist either.
I bury myself into my cereal. For being called Lucky Charms, they're anything but. Otherwise I'd be in your shoes, leading my boyfriend to the bedroom on a Saturday morning.
I slurp up the remainder of my milk and toss my bowl in the sink. Maybe I ought to go for a run. It'll give me something to focus on, other than my inadequacies. Unlike you, I can fly down the street. The director is scared you'll trip on the sidewalk. The city doesn't maintain these things. As a chorus girl, it doesn't matter if I scrape my knees. I'll be on them the entire time anyway. Nobody can see them.
You, with your blue dress, that's different. All eyes will be on you, and they'll notice every last mark.
Tell your boyfriend not to bite so hard this time. Makeup isn't a miracle.
I shed my pajamas. I press a hand to the window to gauge the weather for a moment. It's the same moment your boyfriend walks past your window.
He does a double take. It's the first I think he's noticed me. I've been in his peripheral for months, but he takes a few seconds to study my body as I reach for the cord to my blinds.
I throw on the closest clean shirt. I don't think it'll keep me warm, though the memory of his gaze is helping with that. Once I'm fully dressed, I head outside to run. I'm going to head far away from your house.
I'm sure you're doing the deed now. I'll know for certain when I take out the trash this afternoon. You always throw the evidence in there, because your parents would flip, and because mine don't say anything, with it hidden under old chicken wing bones and used tissues.
I pass by a mail truck, so I check my box when I get back. There's junk mail, so I might as well hit the recycler while I'm out here.
The garbage bin is right there. I succumb to looking inside, finding the evidence that you've left. I see you sitting in his passenger seat now. You know what I see.
Your boyfriend looks at me, eyes resting on certain parts of my body. Ones that make me wonder who he thought of as he hovered over you. I'm not gorgeous like you, but these miles I run, they aren't all in vain. I've got things to flaunt, even if I am just a background character to you.
Your eyes narrow at me as I close the lid back down. Maybe you do know your victim. Maybe you choose not to give me a name, because you don't want to admit that you're the villain.
He backs out of the driveway. I wait until you're around the corner, and pluck the evidence out of the trash.
Your cans are right next to your house. I lift the lid and drop it in, right on top. You won't notice. Your parents are always the ones to take out the trash. They'll be in for quite the surprise Sunday morning.
If I'm your understudy, I have to practice being you, right? Then I guess it's time I play the villain.
It's my time to shine.