It’s 2046 and you’re in a nursing home. Someone is standing in your doorway. A woman in her 50s.
“I’m sorry to bother you,” she says. “I was visiting my father down the hall, and I noticed your name written on the chart outside your room. Sheldon Pendleton?”
“Pretty nosey,” tell her.
“Sheldon Pendleton,” she repeats. “Many years ago, and excuse me if I’m wrong, but did you ever go by the name…Shower Cam Sheldon?”
“Look, what I did when I was young and needed money I’m not going to apologize for,” tell her. “You’ve never done anything to make ends meat?”
The woman will leave without saying a word. She’ll return holding a balloon. The balloon will read “THANK YOU.”
“Where’d you get that?” ask her.
“Gift shop,” she’ll say. She’ll step into your room, cross to your chair, and hand you the balloon.
“You gave a lot to me,” she’ll say. “When I was in my first marriage, a marriage I had no business being in. In the years following my first divorce…”
“You got off to me,” say. “You’re welcome.”
“Yes, occasionally,” she says. “But most of the time, I was just grateful to be invited in. Watching you shower and masturbate on camera, it was an escape from the unbearable confines of my own life into the intimate, closed off, completely anonymous confines of someone else’s. When I turned on your shower feed, I felt like a little kid sick of her parents fighting and running off into a tree-house.”
You’ve been recognized off and on through the years, but most people just think it’s a lark to meet someone from the world of porn. They see you as a tourist attraction. This is different.
“Do you have family?” she asks.
You shake your head, no.
She’ll visit you weekly. Every time she visits her father, she’ll spend an hour with you. Then after her father dies she’ll continue to visit you. She’ll be there on the day that you die.
“Why did you visit me all these years?” you’ll ask her with some of your final breath. “Was it pity?”
“It was selfishness,” she’ll tell you. “Through your shower cam, I felt I knew you, intimately. I felt I had a friend in you. But it wasn’t enough. I wanted you to know me. When I found you here, Shower Cam Sheldon, all these years later, it gave me the opportunity to make you know me. I took it.”
You feel her hand tighten around yours. The room is graying. You seem to go in and out of sleep. You can’t know how long it takes you to respond to her when you say, “I’m glad you did.”
Happy Shower Cam Sheldon Day!