We were there on the lawn in that far corner of the park when the woman lying on her back lifted up the hem of her sundress and began to masturbate. We could see her seeing us as we watched her touch herself, but she wasn’t pleasuring herself to us. Or for us either. Whatever she was reacting to was purely internal. It didn’t seem to matter to her that she was doing it outdoors or in public.
So we just sat and watched. Watched her right hand massaging the spot between her legs, watched her eyes bulge and saw how she saw us watching, but also didn’t see. She didn’t really see anything, we agreed to ourselves later. She didn’t really see us anymore than she saw the old woman who came along and stood confused for a whole minute before taking out her phone and dialling what can only have been 999.
The guards stood watching for exactly a whole minute too. She saw them watching, and yet didn’t see them. Her fingers continued to work upon herself at the same exact rhythm she’d been maintaining since she began. When they finally walked over and told her to stop, she saw them, and yet didn’t see them.
Some more guards showed up a few minutes later, women this time. They picked her up and dragged to her feet and held her by the arms and pulled the sundress back down to the knees and hauled her off.
We agreed that it was the first time either of us had seen a woman masturbate in real life, but we couldn’t quite decide how we felt about it.
Bernard O’Rourke is a writer from Dundalk, Ireland. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in TheEEEL, The Bogman’s Cannon, The Honest Ulsterman, The Bohemyth, The Irish Literary Review, Burning Bush II, The Linnet’s Wings, and Wordlegs. His twitter alter-ego is @guyserious, and his flash fiction blog can be found at lastflash.wordpress.com.