She could because she believed that the hanging of a note was singing her latest tragedy. It was not the breeze, or the hangman looking wistfully. It was her tilted over a chest of drawers, dark glasses and the morning’s cure. The day was difficult as the last evening had been confusing. She had stood, and now she swayed.
She had not gone to bed.
Slight captures of the day weaved their way into the widening corpuscles of her mind. As capilliaries were swished loose with fluid – sipped thoughtfully out of a cup – she could erase and reflect. This was an easier day than others.
But it was still difficult.
It was difficult because Matt had given her the impression of interest, only to leave with a blonde.
She had returned from the rest room, and seen him vaulting. Twenty pounds was missing from her purse. He must have been a complex man to have left the other forty.
It was 11am now. He would have been long gone from her home by now, she thought.
A brown haired modest man had captured her attention in the bar. It was surrealy lit, with low, globe-shaped lamps, bar tenders in waist coats and gin served with tonic and a slice of grapefruit in it. Requests for lemon were refused.
She was looking good and alone. A life in fashion, perhaps one she had been born for, left her with a way to strike a pose, to out-compete the room. She barely needed to try, so it was no surprise when Matt came to sit down.
“Mind if I sit?”
“Sure.” Statuesque. Regular and refined. She had a cigarette, and enjoyed pressing the cold rim of her glss against her lip and eyeing the new suitor. He would do. It was a good night for it. Saturday, being the one that she could leave uninterrupted to herself. She could out-compete when there was no competition in sight.
“It’s a privilege to meet you – I am a great admirer of your work”
“I’m surprised you would know it.”
“Matt Shanks – photographer”
Both smile, reserve intact.
“What sort of work do you do Matt?”
“Models, mainly, the other end of the industry – but working my way up”
“You’re still young.”
“Not as young as you would think, but I did come late to photography. I managed a restaurant before then.
“Would I know it?
“I doubt it, it was in Seattle.”
“So now photography in London.”
“A good place for an American now. With Obama.”
“Yeah, the Bush years were terrible.” Self-effacing grin. Solid ground.
“What…um…I hope you don’t mind me asking, but it’s the first thing that’s in my mind at the moment. Now you’re you, with fame, enviable creations and all. You’ve repeated your success a dozen times in different styles and collections. What do you do, now.”
“Now the gloss has rubbed off?”
“Not that, I mean,” struggling a little with what is obviously an important point “I have a lot of aspirations ahead of me, a lot of closed doors to be opened. I am good at what I do but that’s no guarantee that I’ll have success, and unlikely to the degree you’ve had. But there’s a drama there, there’s the perhaps not, whereas from where I’m standing, things for you are concluded?”
“So you’ve got the life and I’m dying” Amused, but ruffled.
He chuckles: “I didn’t mean to say obsolete, I’m just curious to know where the struggle is. Where’s the point you come back to again and again. What’s repeating on you?”
They both laugh. She fixes him with a look. Lips pursing as the gin within her mouth collapses down her throat.
“At some point the struggles dies .” She later confides.
They talk for the best part of two hours, midnight slips by and alcohol infuses them with the comfort of eachother’s voices and more than that – their own. She can be wry, but also let go and be sensitive. He’s still provocative but, slipping into snatches of sincerity, she can be rarely off her guard.
Talking as the air between them warms up, and the bar travels through gradations of hum, people arrive, leave, join, clink and smoke. It’s quietening as she breaks things off for a trip to the rest room.
She only saw him leave with the blonde as she returned. Her hair swishing on the back that he pressed with a hand as they were out the door.
He must have known her before, she thought.
She thought about why it was better to stay all night in the bar and spend at least the other forty. The cells in her head, her legs and feet throbbed a rhythmic reminder that might have pursued another course.
But – what the hell! She was still… the protest brought the hangover back with a thicker coat. She could have taken more water between drinks.
A snail of longing uncoiled in her belly. She must emit it like a stink. Matt had known better and knew to get out.
She was dimly lit again, a morning and a dressing gown. A cigarette and Miles Davis, a tragic note, a chest of drawers. She pushed herself away.