"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

The most important thing to be a great sniper is neither stealth nor accuracy, it is patience. The ones who fall for stealth are the lame ones, actually. And they are so many around, and so shameless and careless that they are just not worth it. The tough targets - the real prized ones - are those that are aware and discerning, that take care not to be seen. It's they who test your patience.

Yes, patience it was! And he had loads of it. He always aspired to be the best sniper in town and he was determined to embody as much patience as it demanded. So, he crouched and waited.
She was a target he had waited a long time to hit. He had hit many such targets before, but they stood no comparison to her. She was the one he wanted to strike. Very many times he bumped into her in the market, and she had even smiled at him on one occasion. Oh! that smile was a killer. He had had no doubt that she was the one to shoot.
That morning he had arrived early to his planned spot, and setup his equipment without a whisper of a noise. Luckily the spot was an abandoned corridor only two houses away, so he could jump the terrace walls and go down one flight of stairs without being spotted. He had mentally prepared for all contingencies, though. He was an experienced sniper after all.

In order to embolden himself, the previous night he had done his usual exercise of recalling all his successful past shootings. He had logged into his laptop and seen the footage of all those he had shot. He recalled how he had found the right spot to hide, found the most opportune moment and aimed through the perfect angle. Sometimes luck had favoured him, sometimes his flawless preparation. But today, with this one, what mattered was patience...
Patience is what separated the good snipers from the great ones, and he would bargain for nothing short of greatness. He crouched and waited.
Normally she turned up by this time, but today it wasn't to be. He knew she was a smart one. Maybe she got wind of his plans? Maybe she doubted his presence and was testing him? He breathed softly, and waited.
Then, eventually, there was that ruffle on the other side of the window. His moment had arrived. He shifted slightly to ease his numb calf muscles, squinted his eyes and peered through the tiny crack in the window glass. She was there. She was smart, but he had outsmarted her. She had tested his patience and he had passed the test. And now it was time to savour the result.

Through the pinhole perspective of the crack, he saw her enter inside and close the door. He blew ever so softly to clear the viewfinder, nervously positioned his arms to focus through the crack and pressed the button to start shooting. And lo! all of a sudden the crack closed and nothing was to be seen. As always, she had draped her towel over the window and covered the crack. Oh! the smart one that she was, he had failed yet again.
But a great sniper never gives up. He would not rest until he had his shot. He had patience, all and more of it. He would come back again, the next day, and crouch and wait with his camera, ready to shoot.

For now, he would just go back to his room and satisfy himself watching the voyeur recordings of other bathing ladies that he had secretly shot before.