Nobody is Watching

Eric Forseth
8 min readApr 1, 2022
Photo by Charlotte May

A man wakes up in the morning and notices his mouth feels like sandpaper and smells like old milk.

Nobody else is around. It was another Thursday in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He thought, I need a humidifier.

After a minute, he rolls off his white-ish sheets and towards his bathroom. He stumbles twice. Once when stepping onto a pillow that fell onto his bedroom’s hardwood floor. Once while avoiding a pile of books that are stacked on the floor.

His pear-shaped body doesn’t navigate groggy mornings very well.

There is a general look of disapproval on his face.

He feels like a klutz but gets to the bathroom where his reflection reminds him that he’s getting old. At 36, nobody mistakes him for a young man like they did six or seven years ago. He looks at himself for a moment and notices an ever-receding hairline and a spotty beard that hides a scar on his left cheek.

Like most people, the man generally doesn’t like or dislike how he looks. But he sees every blemish, every wrinkle, every shiny new advancement of scalp.

After an electric toothbrush dismisses the foulness of his mouth, a collection of teeth appears in the mirror. They’re fine teeth. Except for the chip on the middle-left tooth which he received when eating a bagel in summer. It’s winter now. Two weeks after Groundhog Day.

The man takes off his clothes, stumbles a little bit when his boxer briefs get caught on his left foot. He recovers. Removes his socks and feels self-conscious about the fact he sleeps in socks. His last girlfriend said that was weird and “something a serial killer would do.”

The man is not a serial killer. But he has thought about how to kill people. And he enjoys the show, Dexter.

In the shower, he lathers a washcloth and begins cleaning his body, starting at the top, like his father showed him when he was in first grade. To promote showering, his father told him, “Your friend, Ben, showers every day.”

He scrubbed each armpit timidly and then moved down to a rotund tummy, to the left side around a bulbous love handle and then to the right around another. When the man was younger his grandfather accused him of drinking beer — because he had a beer belly even at a…

Eric Forseth

I like writing so I write. I dabble in humor, fiction, short stories, observations and things I’ve learned.