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Peeping Tom

Occurred: May 12, 2002

I stood watching the pot of coffee brew. It 5pm on Thursday and my color theory final was due in one hour. We still had weeks left in school, but my professor, a quirky older woman with fiery red hair, insisted that we would all thank her later. As soon as we turned our projects in, classes were optional work periods, which essentially meant that class was over for the year. Sean and I decided to use this to our advantage and drive through the night Thursday, visit his parents over the weekend and drive back Monday night for classes on Tuesday. His parents lived in New Hampshire and I had yet to meet them.

I rushed to Montgomery Hall, walking quickly to Professor Loretta’s office. I saw three of my classmates behind me. At least I won’t be the last getting it in. I peeked into her room, and Loretta sat at her desk with purple cat eye reading glasses resting on her nose. One of those beaded chains was attached to the earpieces and it was positioned tightly across the back of her neck.

“Hi Loretta,” I put my project into the folder, marked with Thursday’s 6:00pm class.

“Oh, hello, Colleen!” She spoke in a lovely accent. It sounded Austrian.

“I hope I’m not too late,” I said knowing I wasn’t.

“Well, technically the semester’s not over for another four weeks.”

“True.” I paused, not knowing what else to say. “Well, have a good weekend. My boyfriend’s waiting for me in my car.” I cracked my knuckles, another nervous tick I have. My parents didn’t like me using my car for long trips, but Sean was convinced that his car wouldn’t make it to NH and back. It made more sense to take mine, but I was still a little nervous, even though he promised my parents would never find out.

“Oh, a date night?”

I cleared my throat. “Actually we’re going to visit his parents in New England. Neither of us have classes tomorrow or Monday, so…we figured, why not.”

“Wow,” with an index finger she pushed her glasses higher onto her nose, “that’s important. First meeting?”

I nodded.

“Are you nervous?”

“A little. But mostly I’m just exhausted from having worked on your project all night.” I tapped the folder that now held two weeks of my hard work.

Raising her eyebrows, a high-pitched ‘huh’ escaped her lips. “Well, good luck. I’ll see you next week, dear.”

“Bye, Loretta.” I backed out of her office and headed toward my silver Toyota Corolla which waited for me in the parking lot.

* * *

I fell asleep almost immediately in the passenger seat. I awoke to the sun rising Friday morning, my cheek pressed against the window, sticky with sweat and drool. “Mmmm.”

“Morning,” Sean looked at me out of the corner of his eye.

“Mmmm.” I said again.

“I’m surprised you managed to sleep through all those wheelies and doughnuts I was doing blindfolded with your car.”


“I also gave a ride to some strippers. They sat on my lap. They didn’t disturb you did they?”

“No,” I said. I don’t have much of a sense of humor in the mornings. “What’d you say about doughnuts?”

“There’s one truth in life, Colleen—Girls are only good for two things on road trips: sleeping and peeing.”

I swiped my hand across my eyes and chin, wiping away residual drool. “Haha. I was gonna ask if you needed me to drive for a bit, but I guess I’ll just pee on the seats.” I scrunched my nose into my “potty” face.

“Go ahead,” Sean smirked, “they’re your seats. I was thinking about peeing myself. Besides, we’re only 10 minutes away.”

“What!?” I sat upright, looking around at road signs to verify that he wasn’t screwing with me.

“Yep. I called my parents already, so they know we’re almost here.”

“Oh my God!” I scrambled to get make up out of my purse. “I need to be a little presentable! Why didn’t you wake me?” I scowled at Sean and decided I was going to blame my grogginess on him.

“I did try to wake you. Twice. Once at a gas station and once when I was bored. Both times you snorted then kicked me away.” My face grew hot as he added, “You drool, by the way. In your sleep. Did you know that?”

I looked down at my knees. “Only when I’m really tired.”

He turned the car left into a long dirt driveway. Trees surrounded us as we drove up to their lake house cottage. It was beautiful. Picturesque. But like nothing I had ever experienced before. I’m a suburban girl. The girl who grew up riding her bike in the streets and sidewalks, not on trails in the woods. I’m used to mini-marts and neighborhoods, not houses in the middle of desolate wooded areas. Regardless, it was beautiful.

Just as I finished powdering my nose, a woman with wiry, reddish brown hair came running out of the front door. Her hair was long, past her shoulders and curly. She had a soft-looking robe wrapped around her and I immediately knew that Sean received his eyes from her. Everything else looked like his dad’s, but those eyes of his, they had Debbie Murphy written all over them.

She ran up to us, hugging me first before going over to greet her son. His dad was only a few steps behind
and introduced himself to me as Tom before giving me a sideways hug. You know the hug I’m talking about. The kind where you put one arm around the person’s shoulders and stick your hip between your bodies so that neither of you can get too close. It’s a bit awkward, but inappropriate touching upon the first meeting is worse. I much preferred the sideways hug.

“Come in! Come in!” Debbie’s voice was high pitched and excited and she continued talking to us the entire way into their house. It was exactly how I had imagined a lake cottage to look. Dark greens and blues, plaids, a sign on the front door with a moose smiling, welcoming me inside. It was very Country Crock and wouldn’t have surprised me in the least if she had had a Sara Lee cake in the fridge along with a pitcher of strawberry lemonade.

“Are you kids tired? That’s a long drive, you must be tired.”

We both nodded. And Sean wrapped his arm around my waist. “Actually, we could probably each use a shower, if that’s ok.”

“Sure, but not at the same time,” His dad said with a crooked smile and winked at Sean.

“Absolutely!” His mom said with the same enthusiasm as when we arrived. “There’s only one bathroom in the entire house, though, so Sean, you should be a gentleman and let your lady go first.” He nodded and they both showed me the way.

The bathroom was long like a train car and had two entrances. One connected to the kitchen and the other, to the master bedroom. I set my bags down on top of the toilet and pulled out my different toiletries. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, loofah, toothbrush…yep, I think that’s it, I thought. Turning the water on, I gave it a chance to warm up while I brushed my teeth. I ran the bristles over my teeth, allowing the toothbrush to wipe the film away and I opened the medicine cabinet. I knew this was in bad taste, but curiosity always got the best of me in these situations. You can tell a lot about a person by their medicine chest. What medication they’re on—whether they have trouble sleeping or if they have allergies. You see what products they use. Are they specific brand people or do they buy coupon items in the Sunday paper? The Murphy’s were definitely coupon from the Sunday paper people. I noted the anti-frizz products and remembered how curly Sean’s hair becomes when it grows out. Must be another trait inherited from his mother. Condensation from the running hot water surrounded my face, fogging the mirrors in front of me. I like these mirrors, I thought while peeling off the sweat-dried clothes from my body. I liked any mirrors that were full length. I never had one, but I liked the idea of being able to see my entire outfit in one glance. I slid the shower curtains to the left, the metal hooks scraping across the shower bar loudly. I stepped inside, the steaming water pounding like hot rain against my back.

“Shit,” I muttered to myself. My face wash was still in my bag sitting on the toilet. I stepped out of the bathtub, water dripping down my legs. I was bent over my bag, searching deep inside like Mary Poppins in her carpetbag, for the small tube.
“Ah, found it,” I said to no one. Standing upright, looked at the door to the master bedroom. I should lock that, entered my mind just as the knob turned and Tom, Sean’s father, walked in.

We were frozen, staring at each other. He—fully clothed in plaid, like a scared lumberjack, and me—ass naked, wondering how long it will take Sean to find his next girlfriend.

His cheeks flushed, and he stumbled, searching for words. They came out incoherently, “Uh, bu…you…uh…” and yet his eyes stayed firmly in place. On my breasts.

I realized he was in too much shock to close the door, so I whipped my body around. Apparently, I thought my boobs were not impressive enough. So, I decided to show him my crack. However, when I turned around, I saw the same shocked expression still staring at me in the mirror.

I screamed. It was the only other thing I could think of to do to snap him out of his trance. My shrill voice startled him and he shut the door quickly. I imagined that face of his, with his chin hanging down past his sternum, still in tact on the other side of the door.

“Um, Colleen?”

“Yes?” My voice was meek. A little raspy from the scream.

“There’s a lock on this door.”

“Ok.” I said quietly. As if I didn’t know that already. Well, believe me, I learned my lesson.

“Also, be sure not to use up all of the hot water.”

“Yes, Mr. Murphy.” I sighed, closed my eyes and stepped back into the shower. I had four more days to spend with this family. Well, at least I had worked out the day before.

**This post has been exaggerated a tiny bit for emphasis. For instance, Tom was not staring at my breasts. He was looking at my face the entire time. But the majority of it is true.

2 Responses to “Peeping Tom”

  1. Ello Says:

    OMG! I choked! Poor you! How do you face him ever again?

  2. Colleen_Katana Says:

    It is VERY hard, every time I see him. Unfortunately, the “peeping tom” joke has caught on with all members of the boyfriend!’s family.


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