Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Shortcuts: Mismatched pieces

One - The opening of a wine bar/restaurant

She smiled nicely for the society magazine photographer,relieved that she had taken the trouble to dress - the black dress with a deep square neckline that had reminded her of Audrey Hepburn in the shop, a string of pearls, solitaire diamond studs, heels - simple and effectively unobtrusively elegant.

She slipped,still smiling, amongst the crowd, trying the New Zealand Chardonnay, the Portuguese ports, the Rieslings from France. She handed out her card to those who asked for it, didn't flinch when well barbered older men grasped her hands in a display of friendliness and poured her more wine.

It had been years since she'd attended one of these events and the crowd remained unchanged. Men,with that indefinable air of ease that only wealth can bring, talking affectedly about the stock market and the wines, pretending to be oenophiles (or perhaps they were,she couldn't tell), women with thousand dollar handbags and tired perfectly made up faces waiting by.

Later, making conversation with the anorexically thin, well dressed girlfriend of one of the firm's clients, she had a flash of understanding that the older man who'd asked for her card earlier had probably envisioned her in such a role.

Just then, her boss called out to her and suppressing a shudder, she turned to go with some relief.

Two - On the steps

She sat on the porch steps ruthlessly swigging water: it worked, she could feel, as she always could, the alcohol quietly leaving her head. Perhaps the months of OD-ing on prescription medication hadn't quite killed her liver yet.

Z appeared silently out of the darkness and slipped his arm around shoulders. He said nothing, just held her and the first sobs shook out from deep within her chest and out into his arms.

She tried to tell him, but the words and the sobs were fighting for air and in the end she gave up the effort and let him have the tears.

Three - Picture

There's a picture of us, taken at some Christmas party. It's not on my computer or yours but floats ephemerally on some cyberspace picture site which I sporadically access.

I'm wearing a blue dress with a silver pattern. My head is on your shoulder and I'm smiling at the camera. You have a half smile on your face and didn't shave that day so there's stubble but mainly...

The frame is filled with blues and reds and glowing silver: it could have been Christmas Easter Chinese New Year Halloween and there could have been a party hat a halloween mask a flower lei around my neck

and the air is almost thick enough that the camera strains to commit to film an invisible image of ... the intangible, the nothing, the contentment, the everything.

after, when I saw it, when I saw it I half believed the African tribesmen who say that photographs trap pieces of your soul because staring up out of the computer screen was my your our souls in contentment and love.

1 comment:

PEP said...

Very thoughtful, with a small crack into the character's life. A snapshot. Vivid descriptions that speak volumes within subtle lines. Very nice :)