The emotional price put an unbearable strain on her heart. It wore at her like a diet of sandpaper and shale. She tried her best to hide it, brush it off even. But I knew better. One day she'd get that handbag. It was something she just had to do.
She came at me through a smog of cigarette smoke, her hair a sea of pooling ebony, back to the door, sitting cross-legged on a bar stool. Her red dress, crimson like blood, had risen up to expose one virginal white garter — it hinted a subtle lie. She sipped on a bourbon empress of all, the eyes of the whole lousy bar upon her, both sexes, and a few I was unsure of. Decisions, decisions, I pondered, as my heart skipped a beat and lips grew dry.
The old man had one of those weathered faces contoured from a life hard fought and often lost. I caught him out of the corner of my eye sat to one side, unassuming like a garden gnome that had always happened to be there. We locked eyes for a moment, nothing more, but long enough for me to see his pinky finger waggle a warning: don’t do it, son, you’ll end up like me. I turned tail and ran.
He saved me from that liquor-downing siren. He granted me a freedom he’d never attained. And for an instant, I even felt sorry for him as I inhaled a deep breath of backstreet air, but not for long.
There was an undeniable truth to the fact she was a killer. Her eyes spoke of it, smile suggested it, and as for her figure, well… yum. She was everything a spark ignited, everything that made a dark dream dire. Her allure offset her demon. Her magnificence demanded respect. She was a little boy’s nightmare and a grown man’s fantasy, all this and more. Yet like all mysteries wrapped in purple, silk bows, she required exploring. What was the point in excess if one couldn’t partake of it? What was the point in deliverance if one had never needed delivering? I partook, she delivered. I lost, she won.
“I just wish she’d have looked my way.”
“Why?” asked Tommy.
“I can’t say.”
“No, I can’t,” I said blushing and embarrassing myself even more. I hadn’t seen her full on, but she was wearing a rather revealing blouse.
“I aren’t going to tell anyone, I’m your best pal. So what if you’re shy. So what if you’re nervous. I don’t care.”
“Cross my heart,” he replied, but I thought he had his fingers crossed.
“I wanted her to turn around because…”
“Because what?” he snapped.
“I think she was holding your car keys.”
She flashed one of those come hither looks only girls of a certain allure managed. Without getting out of her chair or even lowering her glass, she'd captured my attention completely. A flash of two green, bejewelled eyes and she thought me hers. Yes, I was enamoured, but never stupid.
Beneath lights that stroked her skin in vermillion, cobalt and liquid gold, she danced. Her hair, black as night, dark as oil, swished from side to side like Medusa's snakes, alive and uncontrollable, the others revellers giving her beauty the room it demanded. When I pierced that room, she moved.
50 Word Stories: The Trembling Lip
I recalled her lips as a surging sea starting hundreds of miles out in the deep ocean. The pressure in the room would waver, lift, roll forwards and engulf you like a tsunami slap to the face. If you lingered, tears followed. I didn’t, though I often surfed her waves.