So, I’ve got this strange habit of writing blog posts and then deleting them. I feel like I say too much and then I cancel them. I talk way too much online, but in real life I say next to nothing. I sit next to my 86-year-old neighbor for half an hour in the car while I’m driving her to her doctor’s appointment, and I just say “Right,” and “Yep,” in response to all of her numerous inanities. Sometim es I say nothing at all, and she just goes right on yapping.
My brain is tired. How does your brain feel? Ah, whatevs. Not snorting any sugar tonight, just drinking the usual vodka. Maybe a little more wine if I get past ten mixed, though I know I’ll be numb in the morning.
So I thought of this lady I met in my mind at the bus stop (though I own a car and don’t take the bus) . . .
IT WAS A BRISK AFTERNOON IN LATE AUTUMN. I walked towards the Plexiglas cubicle that shielded those who waited for the bus from the rain, tugging my hood around my head and wishing I owned an umbrella. Fuck being poor. Fuck it all to hell.
I saw the middle-aged woman just sitting there, smoothing on lipstick in a handheld mirror. Her hair was short and curly, her pale face was firm and pert. Her red lipstick looked perfect under her dark eyes.
“May I sit next to you, ma’am?” I inquired, gesturing to the bench.
“It’s a free country,” she replied. A sly smile before she added, “Or so they say.”
I sat down next to her. She was an incredibly striking woman. She was tall, you could tell she was, even while she was sitting. Her clothes were impeccable and her makeup was perfect. I loved her red lipstick most of all. It looked very kissable.
But then, without warning, she drew a small silver flask from the pocket of her grey twill pants. She twisted off the top, then took a long swig.
“You can’t imagine how many times I have to refill this over the course of the day,” she said, smacking her lips and looking up at the grey, pouring sky.
“How many?” I inquired wonderingly.
“Six or seven,” she replied nonchalantly. “Maybe more.”
“What do you do during the day?” I asked.
“I’m a bookkeeper,” she answered. “For a charity. But let me tell you, young lady – charity is a very loose expression. It’s more of a business than anything else.”
I looked at her with narrowed eyes. “You can’t mean that,” I said quietly.
“Ah,” she said, looking at me with her deep, dark eyes. “Poor young girl. Do you still believe in innocence?”
I thought about it for a long moment, but finally realized that I didn’t know. So I didn’t answer.
A bus was coming – and it seemed like it was her bus.
“Wait,” I yelped as she rose to leave.
She looked back patiently.
“What are you doing later on?” I asked politely.
She gazed at me with an equal measure of politeness. “I’m too old and jaded for you, my dear,” she replied.
The bus pulled up alongside her and swung open its doors. She went up the steps with shapely legs shod in sensible black flats. I watched her as she went, marking her movements as she took a seat four rows back.
Much to my surprise, though, she looked back down at me. She blew me a kiss, then mouthed the words “Maybe later.”
At least – I think that’s what she said.