The house I live in has a gate around it, and I’ve always felt pretty secluded on our little island. Then I came home to find a homeless woman in the backyard, hunched on the step, pants half down, ass crack visible to the world, painting her toenails like it was no big thang. Clearly she didn’t give a shit about our fence and decided that the area right outside my window was an ideal place to hang. I shuffled around her, avoiding her gaze as if I was the intruder (“So sorry to interrupt, don’t mind me”), and slipped into my room. I didn’t see Big Bertha (I call her Big Bertha because she’s large and in charge and looks German) for a while, until I noticed a distinct puddle in the backyard, realized it was pee, and figured Big Bertha had claimed her territory.
Several weeks went by without a sign of Bertha. I thought maybe she had abandoned our house because of the steady stream of people going in and out, and instead found a new place to pull her pants down and do her nails (I also tend to paint my toenails without pants on. Is this a thing? Do other people do this?) Anyway, Big Bertha had pretty much left my consciousness. The other day, I took a shower and opened the door to my room clad in just a towel. I have a giant window facing our backyard area that has shoddily made blinds, perfect for the general passerby to see me change and paint my nails without pants on. I have quickly abandoned any shame about this, mostly because I’m too lazy and poor to buy real curtains. On the other hand, I get to see everything going on outside my window. And that day I saw Big Bertha, entirely naked, standing outside my window.
She was laughing to herself and dancing around, the sun glinting off her fat rolls, and as I stood there in only a towel, Bertha and I shared this naked moment. Then Bertha doused herself with our hose and I dropped below window level. When I peered back up, Bertha had her clothes back on and I sighed with relief because I wasn’t sure what to do about a large, naked woman frolicking outside my window. I grabbed my own clothes and as I pulled them on, there was movement in my peripheral vision. I turned to look, and, after turning away for one second, Bertha’s clothes were back off and she was completely naked again. She threw her underwear and shorts into the tree outside my window in what I can only guess was a gift to the laundry gods. I stayed below eye level until I was sure she was gone. I haven’t seen Big Bertha since, but I think about her everytime I pass by the crumpled underwear in the tree. One day, I will finally gain the courage to extract the underwear. Or more likely I will light the tree on fire.