The Unfortunate (part 1)
The music danced a tango with the cigarette smoke that hung over the gyrating mob like a mushroom cloud; armageddon in a tea cup.
In the corners, the unfamiliar simply observe, drowning their inexperience with spirits, in the form of both liquor & bad memories.
Multiple scents caused by multiple thoughts entwine & embrace in the atmosphere: desire, envy, lust, fear, anticipation.
Amongst all this chaos of existence, I sit, giving it my best college try at becoming, permanently, a shadow with no host.
'You look forlorn,' someone says.
It takes you a second to realize how clear the words came, despite the oppression of sound waves & body heat.
You don't answer right away because she couldn't be talking to you, why would she? Then you think to look up & see eyes the color of absinthe once the water hits.
'I'm not,' you reply, 'do I look it?'
She squeezes herself in between you & the hunk of desperate humanity next to you.
'You look like someone who thinks a lot but doesn't speak enough,' she offers, 'or at least never says what he wants. My name is Vianne.'
Her right appendage hangs in the air, elbow on the bar as if ready to arm wrestle.
You switch your drink over to the left & take her soft, inviting hand.
'My name doesn't matter,' you retort & although it wasn't meant as a joke, she took it as one & guffawed.
'You're right. My name is not really Vianne anyway.'
'Well, it's a nice name regardless. Do you know what it means?'
'No, I just made it up. Or maybe it's a name somewhere, but I'm not sure. What are you drinking?'
'My death I hope.'
You meant that as a joke. She doesn't laugh.
'Well, it looks dangerous. I prefer clear.'
Her arm, still held up on the bar, now goes fully erect, urging over the bartender, a guy that should have been on the cover of a pretentious male magazine meant for female readers.
'What can I get you?'
He sashays around, grabbing a tumbler buried in ice cubes, then pours Vianne two fingers of cheap vodka, impaling a slice of lime on the side & hands it to her.
'Cheers,' she says, not waiting for you to raise your glass before drinking.
'Cheers,' you answer back, at this point not entirely convinced you were completely sober, or awake, or sane.
Outside, the night is everything every artist envisions it to be; dark, quiet, mysterious, beautiful. A muse waiting to inspire a masterpiece.
You watch her as she leans against a wall, taking hits from a cigarette you gave her, despite the fact that you don't smoke, & dream.
You imagine a life as someone else, you wonder whether you're becoming someone else, & you realize it's eventual; everything changes in time.
'Why are you here?,' she asks.
You ponder a little too long, taking the question too seriously. She clarifies.
'You don't seem like the kind of guy that comes to these places.'
'I don't. I guess I just wanted to know what it was like.'
'& the verdict?'
'I'm not sure, I don't think I'm the right person to ask. I guess if I was more comfortable with myself, if I had even the smallest amount of self-esteem, I would probably enjoy it. Even the damn alcohol didn't help.'
She looks at you, stares, those foamy green eyes searching your own eyes, searching your face, searching your very being.
What are you looking for?, you wonder but only manage to blurt out, 'What?'
She hesitates, then you hear the words, 'I've never been in love.'
You're silent again, this time not out of too much thought, but none at all.
'You have plenty of time left I think,' you muster, trying in vain to smile. Again, she says nothing at first, then looks down at her cigarette.
'You give up.'
You think her choice of words odd but let it go.
'Should we go back in?,' you ask.
She stares, just for a moment this time, then her eyelids close, the expression on her face changing from inquisitive to blank.
Suddenly she pushes off the wall & stands so close to you every sense clenches.
'Let's walk somewhere.'
She drops the dead cigarette & takes your hand, your feet & imagination set into motion.
@ellowrites #short story #contemplation