Monday, March 28, 2011

Glamorous, by the Service Road

Within her compass, there was no room for pretense and affectation. She was frank with herself about all matters, and only constrained her views in her dealings with others for the sake of courteousness (she had, after all, been raised to be gracious). She was sure that she could not afford insincerity, since more than enough years had passed already and one day shifted into the next too quickly for her liking. She would never profess out loud her feeling that time was running out, but that was her general mood nonetheless. A lot had been lost, her innocence for instance, and maybe a smidgen of virtue. She smiled less and watched her pride systematically deplete like sacks of grain in a barnyard. She felt very much like a hen required to fight for the feed, although she opted out of the scuffle. There seemed to be less and less to be joyous about. Still, she retained some of her former qualities and that was some consolation: for example, she could splurge with distinction and was convinced that she had few peers when it came to making a stylish representation of herself.

She arrived at the lounge alone and chic. The glasses on the overhead rack gleamed like a row of bulbs, barely lit. They caught her eye for a moment, but then she noticed that there were more women than men in the place. Naturally. It was a theme she had witnessed too often. Someone had said it was the curse of being a woman of her kind, where she would gradually become more accomplished and a comparable man would be unavailable, locked-up or dead. Dead! Or, maybe she had read it in a magazine. Either way it was a hell of an outlook to have. How did she feel about it? It was difficult to say. She was never one to deliberate over statistics, or delve too deeply into the reasons surrounding the social conditions of any particular group. She saw herself in a vacuum and made her own wellbeing her focus. She knew that she just could not stand another year of stretching out on her bed and not pressing up against another soul; and, good God, another year of having no voice to respond to in the dark!

And so it was that she found herself at the venue, venturing out despite her past misadventures, and her present misgivings. She settled in and conducted a survey of the scene. She checked the earrings’ glimmer in the wall-paneled mirror. She reached out and met glances and looked pleasant and smiled. She swiveled her chair sideways so as to invite conversation. She even joined a feminine caucus, hoping to benefit from their catch. The entire effort was fruitless. By the time the house lights started rising, she was following the breeze out the front door. She was hunched, walking on five inches down the avenue; wearing her discontent like a shawl. She squeezed all of her passions into the purse under her arm. She veered to the right, almost trotting down the adjacent block as a drizzle started to fall. The car appeared in her view. She heard her keys and bracelet jingle when she put out her arm. She stopped short. She paused. She leaned forward to focus her glare. She placed a hand across her mouth. The flat tire made the car lean slightly to the side. It was a final affront. The water hit her face as she brought her hand to her hip, looking to the left and the right her.