Elizabeth

Elizabeth’s black pumps left depressions in the Persian rug when she walked.  She wore a black cocktail dress.  Elizabeth’s hair fell messy down her bare back.  Her young skin spread taut over her shoulder blades.  The soft light accentuated her young skin.  Her male suitor sat with anticipation in a black tuxedo.   Elizabeth thought that he looked handsome tonight.   Elizabeth moved her hips back and forth and raised her arms with a make believe difficulty, like she was under water reaching for the surface.  Her suitor was a recurring client but he still enjoyed the anticipation of the moment.  He wanted to be teased by a woman whom he already owned.  Elizabeth didn’t have a problem dancing; her hourly rate had already been established.

She grabbed onto his knees and pushed his legs apart before she slid her hands up his thighs.  Elizabeth looked into his wrinkled face.  He didn’t catch her gaze as he was pre-occupied with her supple young figure.  Elizabeth noticed every crevice that had engulfed his aging face; the crows feet, the hard horizontal lines across his forehead, the wrinkles that formed around his wry smirk.  Elizabeth turned around to sit on his lap.

“Are you ready?” Elizabeth said

He nodded without a word.  Elizabeth stood up and walked him into the bedroom slightly gripping his fragile hand.  She crawled on the bed as he stood over her.

“Give me a few moments to prepare baby.” He said

He took a seat next to her on the bed.  The sheets of the bed were Egyptian cotton.  Elizabeth didn’t know why it mattered that the sheets were Egyptian cotton or that the painting hanging over them was a Caravaggio.  She didn’t care that the Eames arm chair that faced out onto the skyline of the city was one of a kind.   Elizabeth didn’t gain a particular felicity in the opulent interior or the haute aesthetic of the penthouse.   Her client opened the drawer of the bedside table and grabbed a capsule containing a little blue pill.  One side of the small container was foil; the other side was clear plastic in a diamond shape.  Through the plastic you could see the little pressed pill with a capital V imprinted on the front of it.  Elizabeth’s client groped the small pill wrapper.  He pushed hard at the plastic part, trying to get the blue pill to breach the shiny foil.  Elizabeth sat on the bed watching him, her heels still on, puncturing the high thread count sheets.  She reached into her purse and pulled out a pack of cigarettes.  Three remained; she lit one and inhaled deep before releasing a satiable cloud of smoke.  Her client’s liver spotted hands were still trying to open the plastic container.  He changed his technique and now he was trying to peel the wrapping by sticking his long yellow fingernails into the space between the foil and the plastic.

“Do you want me to help you?” Elizabeth asked.

“No I can do this myself” He replied

Yet again his hands turned over the plastic container pleading with it to come loose.  The skin of his hands was loose like a turkey’s gobble yet you could see the bones of his hands protruding sharply as they worked over the small container.  Now he pushed with both thumbs on the plastic to get the pill to puncture the foil but to no avail.  Sweat began to collect on his brow.  The anticipation of romance began to be replaced by embarrassment.  Elizabeth put out her cigarette and reached into her clutch yet again, this time producing a small glass vial with a black lid.  It contained a white powder.  Elizabeth took the key to her apartment and used it to scoop a small amount which she lifted to her nose and sniffed with fervor. She repeated the motion to her other nostril.

“It’s ok baby just let me open it for you.” Said Elizabeth

No reply from the old man as he fumbled the plastic container and it fell to the floor.  Elizabeth watched him slowly bend over and reach his lanky arm down to pick up the pill.  The plastic of the wrapper was now mutilated with white spots but there was still no access to the medicine inside.  Elizabeth’s client breathed heavily, his thin white hair went about in all directions like he had stuck his head out the window of a speeding car.  She touched his back and his spine felt bony and abnormally curved like the wood of a bow.  He didn’t notice her touch; he just went on trying to separate the foil from the plastic.  Elizabeth reached for another cigarette, now she only had one left.


 

The problem with my stories is that they are short parts of longer stories I haven’t written yet.  I’ve never written from the point of view of a woman before.  Which is troublesome when trying to portray emotional depth in a character.  I think the deeper issue is I don’t understand women.

Advertisements

untitled

I followed a man leaving the movie theater the other day.

He was blind, at least that is what I gathered from the previous few times I had seen him.  For many nights during work he passed by and I caught every glimpse I possibly could.  He wore dark thick glasses and always swung a long white stick in front of him when he walked.  When the store was slow I would stare out and watch the people walking by on the sidewalk.  Occasionally the blind man would be one of them.  The first time I saw him; I was following him unconsciously.  As I was walking to work on the red bricks of the plaza I lifted my head and saw him in front of me.  The swaying of the white stick caught my gaze. It briskly grazed the ground ahead of him searching for an obstacle.  He always wore the same outfit; a green blazer made of tweed, black dress slacks and black non-slip shoes that made a ‘click clack’ noise as he passed.  He wore a black fedora pulled down to his thick black glasses that shaded out any discernible features.

 

A blind man with repose isn’t something that comes across you so often.  The acute accentuation of the other senses due to blindness could either drive one mad or make one more in tune with other frequencies.  What it could be like to see things with your ears.  To feel the vibrations of the fountain as it sprays in the air and falls back into the pool from which it came.  The miasma of a crowded room like thick fog you could feel brushing past you.  The remaining senses becoming so visceral.  For some, imposing like the doorman at the gates of heaven.

 

I decided to catch a movie after work.  I enjoyed watching movies by myself.  Conveniently the theater is located right next to my workplace.  I sat in the frigid theater and noticed a white stick coming out of the entrance ramp.  The blind man followed in the green tweed jacket.  He swung his white stuck down the handicap aisle and took a seat almost directly in front of mine.  He folded up the white stick and inserted it into his left jacket pocket.  

 

I couldn’t concentrate on the film.  I could only stare at the screen and the shadow of a fedora and wide shoulders against it.  He was so still, he couldn’t have been breathing.  I don’t remember the film.  I remember moving pictures supplemented with sounds.  I closed my eyes for a few moments and listened.   I thought about how we heard the same things but must have been listening to them differently.  The cold air of the theater sent chills down my spine and created goosebumps on the nape of my neck.

 

I sat through the credits, waiting for him to rise up from his seat.  When he did, I let him unfold his white walking stick and begin to swing it.  When he turned the corner of the partition out of my line of sight, I rose with haste and hurried to catch up to him.  I caught sight of him again just as he was leaving the darkness of the theater.  

 

I followed him.  The thick carpet that lined the theater muffled the sound of his black shoes.  We walked together silently, until we reached the elevator to take us down to the first floor.  He must have been a regular at this cinema, how did he know where the elevator was?  He swung his stick against the aluminum threshold of the elevator which made a small twang consistent with plastic meeting metal.  He reached with his right hand down towards the panel to hit the small silver button.  He had to search with his hands for a few moments to find the right spot.  I stood behind watching him, the button surrounded by a red ring of light.  We waited for the elevator together.  The aluminum doors separated and he entered first holding his white stick in both hands.  By now he must have known I was with him.  The elevator doors closed and we stood there together, hung in the moment.  I heard my heart beating in the steel cage.  He certainly heard the same thing.  Still, I watched him.  I felt sorry for him but in a way I knew he was content; like the burden of being blind was his alone to carry, like it was something he had to do.  His hands gripped the white stick as if it were to disappear randomly.  The skin of his hands was taut around his bones.  His knuckles reflected the fluorescent lighting of the elevator and they looked like they had white spots.  He smelled like my chess teacher in 6th grade.  Like oak and cherry.  It was an older man’s smell.  I knew my chess teacher must be dead by now.  
When the doors clanked open, he stepped forward one black shoe at a time.  Perpetually swinging the white stick he walked towards the double doors of the exit, towards the darkness.  I walked a few steps behind him as he thrust himself out into the darkness and turned left down the boulevard.  I crept out after him and watched him walk away swinging the white stick.  I pictured him with a thick, rich voice like a river of melted gold.  He had the air of a man who was born with vision but adopted darkness like an unwanted son.


 

I wrote the first draft of this story before I read The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.  I thought it was interesting how the plot lines were so similar.  Stalking or following someone without their knowledge, especially someone who is disabled, is one of the more sinister things you can do.  The way Poe writes, with such lucidity yet focus, is something that I tried to emulate in the final draft of this peace.  Obviously his talent far surpasses mine.  I found myself referencing him unconsciously when writing the rest of the story.