She Came in Through the Bathroom Window

by a contributor

Leonard Kress

It was a song I never quite got but still connect to my high school girlfriend, Daphna, who hated it—because someone actually did come in through her bathroom window, or tried to. She was sixteen, the summer of Abbey Road’s total.

A peeping tom was making the rounds of her neighborhood and when he reached her house, he shimmied up a pin oak and peeked into her bathroom window from the perch of his leafy den—while she toweled herself dry, dabbing off the soak beading up on her unflinching flesh. Aghast, emboldened, and rash, going for broke, over-reaching the prize, riding the crest of cupidity, he tried to jimmy off the screen. And lost his balance, falling to the ground.

Daphna later confessed to me that he’d seen it all (unlike me, alas) when out of fright she’d let her towel slip—a primal need to lighten no longer necessary. She found the light switch, flicked it off, and screamed. He just picked himself up and ran. Her doctor father from Istanbul, hearing the commotion, rushed in. He was left struggling at the door she’d locked, cursing the land he was living in.

The police refused to investigate. They just wrote it off, not at all shocked by this horny-kid-prank, suggesting instead a staged re-creation to get the full impact of the violation. And soon word spread, especially to kids at school, who ganged the corridors to taunt in chorus, the Joe Cocker version of the song. Their jeers twisting their sphincter-lips as they ridiculed her: He came in through the bathroom window raising up the silver sash / but now she….

Sadly, this was the final blow for us. Our year-long term ran its course. We could not make it past this song that edged out all others when we’d park in the cul-de-sac or by the creek. Where I’d feast on those breasts like a growth-spurting babe in the dark—though they remained unseen, even as they popped like a Jack-in-the-box out of her bra. I hoped for more, much more, but always some car’s high beams induced a bashful panic and we’d halt.

Her father was convinced that I was the perpetrator, and my nightmare of his scimitar screams, slashing my testicles shattered any dreams I had of Daphna by my side, in my bed, forever mine. She was sure I was innocent, though, unable to convince everyone. Even when my alibi of working at the mall was watertight. She alone knew that I was incapable of such crime—Didn’t anybody tell her? / Didn’t anybody see? And yet, I somehow got blamed anyway. And never figured out how to keep from falling, falling out of so many other trees.

Leonard Kress has had recent work in Barn Owl Review, Passages North, Harvard Review, and River Styx, and Atticus Review. Most recent poetry collection is Living in the Candy Store. He currently teaches philosophy, religion, and creative writing at Owens College in Ohio.

See Leonard’s list of 5 Things You Should Read in our ongoing contributors’ series.