Excerpt From a Book I’ll Never Write (1)

There she goes. Her pallor shining in the soft glow of the half-moon, she saunters past the tables on the cobbled path outside the cafés, past the burly men sitting there talking about their politics and sports, smoking away their cigarettes and just flicking the remnants away for they are by nature of their very existence brutes. She approaches the very last table, her hair bouncing in the new bob cut that she’s been wanting to try out for weeks now — a style she has always been too afraid to get because of the risk of experimenting with hair-length — but has only just gotten cut and styled on her way to this café; her stride soft and confident.

The waiters greet her (she is a regular here) as she sits down at her usual table. She responds warmly and amicably, radiating her lunar glow more prominently. They inquire if she would like anything different today. Perhaps a slice of their carrot cake. She sticks to her tea, thanks them all the same, and wishes she wasn’t on a diet (it’s not that she is or was ever fat; it’s just that she is particular about fitness).

She props her handbag in her lap, and reaches inside, pulling out what appears to be an oversized visiting card holder. She pushes the front latch to open it, picks up a cigarette from the case, closes it, puts the cigarette between her lips, throws the case back into her handbag, and after rummaging inside for a bit, draws a lighter as if in a magic trick, and lights her Dunhill.

It doesn’t take very long to see she’s different. She’s not like the apes she finds herself surrounded by: she has poise and grace, and both these qualities seem to matter greatly to her. And, yet, behind the playful innocence of her freckled face, the sparkle peeking from within her eyes nearly hidden behind her perfectly round (pinch-worthy) cheeks, you can almost feel a certain firmness in her demeanor: a battle-hardened soul, an invisible and impenetrable suit of armor, and an indefatigable stamina backing her iron-clad will to be taken seriously in this life.

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