It’s funny what you see when no one knows you’re watching. Almost as if, because no one knows you’re watching, the truth – everything that matters – is exposed.

One Saturday morning, the sun peeked bright into our modest apartment. It had barely finished lifting its own drowsy eyelids when mine were forced open by the cheerful squeal of a baby all too ready to army crawl unrestricted. 

Baby on hip, I staggered through our morning routine. I sat cross-legged on the carpet, peering out my sliding glass door and sipping down brewed warmth with a splash of milk. It wasn’t long before the army crawler crawled herself into my lap.

So there we sat, watching the sun warm the morning, the slight breeze blow wisps of willow, and the landscapers push their rumbling machinery loud along my neighbors’ bushes — in front of bedroom windows and other people’s sliding glass doors. 

It was early. I kept thinking it was so early and that those tenants – the ones whose bushes were getting trimmed by our apartment’s gardeners – must be pillow-over-head, teeth clenched frustrated.

There were three of them. Three men pushing and pulling and pushing and pulling, edging those bushes into proper shape.

My sliding glass door faces my neighbor’s sliding glass door, so I saw his shirtless chest and sticky-up hair the moment his door started to glide open. Those landscapers are going to get an earful, I thought. I kept thinking about how unhappy he must be, how unhappy they all must be.

An uninvited observer, I watched in anticipation. My neighbor extended his hand to the landscaper nearest him and a shiny red can caught the light. Then that dreary-eyed turned bright-eyed sun reflected off another can and another – one for each landscaper. My neighbor stepped back inside, unaffected and yet affected by the early morning rumbling.

I watched each man stuff a Coca Cola can into his respective pocket and carry on working. All the while, I sipped my own caramel-colored caffeine — flabbergasted. 

It’s quite funny what you see when no one knows you’re watching. 

Holly Mthethwa

Holly Mthethwa is the author of the Christian memoir "Hot Chocolate in June: A True Story of Loss, Love, and Restoration." She hails from the small, Midwestern town of Cozad, Nebraska, but currently resides just outside of Washington, D.C., where she lives an adventure with her husband and daugther. Holly writes regularly about faith, family, and the moments that fish-hook her heart at