Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Gum Smacker.

It was silent, except for the constant smish-smash smacking sound of the gum being brutalized and manipulated between the molars of the man’s mouth. When his teeth weren’t man-handling the Wrigley’s that she imagined had been in his mouth since the day before, his tongue maneuvered around to do the rest. (She hypothesized that he was a terrible, terrible French kisser.) His lips were drawn tightly against his teeth as his jaw jumped up and down like a jack hammer on the loose. The longer he chewed the gum, she swore the sound became more amplified…like there was a microphone right underneath his chin and the speaker was wired directly into her head.

She wanted to punch him to get him to stop. And she was a petite girl. She wanted to jump on all fours across the room and straddle his body as though she were a werewolf in heat and them pummel his head with her fists until that damn wad of grey gum he was slurping was released from the slimy captivity of his mouth.

She knew the more humane thing to do would be to politely ask him to chew with his mouth closed. Or maybe ask him something funny like, “How’s that gum tasting?” Or, “Do you have any more gum because you’re sure making that piece SOUND really good.” But, she knew she didn’t have the balls to say anything.

Instead she sat there and got more and more heated as she turned the pages of her magazine harder and faster and huffed and puffed louder and harder…hoping this subliminal message would get him to shut the fuck up.

But then a miracle happened. His name was called and he left. He took his mouth with him. The speaker in her head melted into nothingingness. Her shoulders relaxed. The lines on her forehead relaxed. A smile returned to her lips. She was thankful. All was right with the world.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Missing The Point.

She turned up the radio as she placed her elbow on the warm driver’s side window. Traffic was going no where in a hurry and she was late to work, again. Her opportunity to avoid being late had been consumed earlier that morning. She’d spent fifteen minutes standing in her mismatched underwear in front of her closet. She had stared longingly at the cute clothes she wanted to put on: a tank top, some cut-off jean shorts, a cute vintage vest. But it was Ugly Monday, a day that wouldn’t allow such things. In those fifteen minutes, she’d used every bit of rationing she could to get herself to push some clothes aside and find a skirt and jacket, suitable “Monday Gear”, to then get her to the next phase of the morning: hair and make up. She pushed. Pushed again. And pushed one more time until she found a skirt she felt she could manage living in for eight hours. She reached for the skirt’s wire hanger, but the hanger had turned into an unruly four-year old who’d just been told it was time to leave the playground. The hanger didn’t scream, of course, but it hung onto another hanger like a kid with a strong hold on the jungle gym. She tugged. She wrestled. She cursed. She negotiated. She gave up. Kinda. Angry, she stomped her un-manicured foot and she started to rearrange her closet so that this would never happen again! How dare her closet make her late? Bad closet, BAD! She rearranged for a gooood seventeen minutes. Still in her underwear. Still nowhere near hair and make up. Still just not anywhere near close to leaving for work. (This sorta thing happened often her life. She was working on it. Just not today.)  Once she was satisfied with the tidy effects of her scolding, she had jumped into her gear, ran across her parking lot in bare feet with heels in hand and jumped into the car thinking somehow she had won. …

Through her amber-tinted shades, she glanced up at shadowed palm trees towering in the hazy morning sun. She leaned her head back and tried to allow the sun’s warm fingers to massage her temples as she sang along with Christina Aguilera: “I am beautiful…in every single way…” A tear slid down her face. It wasn’t that she didn’t feel beautiful; she knew that she was, just not all the time. Like right now. She didn’t bother to wipe the tear away. Instead, she lifted her head from its comforting place and reached for her make-up bag on her lap. She slid on a smooth glide of lip gloss. She didn’t need a mirror. She’d had years of practice of getting beautiful in the car. But, to make sure she didn’t look like Jennifer Coolidge in “Best in Show”, she took a glance. As she made eye contact with herself, she knew she shoulda promised herself something else, something remotely encouraging, but instead she promised herself, “No more wire hangers!”.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mirror Image.

I saw her before she saw me.

Her walk was clear. Deliberate. Like a college student after acing one final exam heading to the next. She was younger and shorter than I, and thinner. Petite. Her hair was pulled back into a long sleek pony. She was conservative. Her dress and shoes were not.

I wondered if she was a hooker.

Even in the shade of night punctuated by steel grey street lamps and Sunset Boulevard-inspired headlights, her cherry-bomb red dress signaled like a beacon. Its full skirt swung at her knees as she walked. The halter had a navel-plunging V-neck like those weird-o swimsuits that became popular a few years ago that certain girls wore with jeans. In a different time and place, the dress was demure and fashionable. Something Marilyn Monroe might have rocked. But Hollywood and bad knock-off designers had gotten to it and now, here it was. Serving some kind of purpose.

We were within a few yards of each other. Our heels tick-tocking on the pavement in unrealized time. Her heels were stilettos and Gladiator in style while mine were Jessica Simpson 1940s faux-crocodile replicas. I too wore a full-skirted dress. Something Marilyn Monroe would have rocked. Mine was longer. Black.

To the naked eye, we could have been the same.

The gap separating us diminished. She wore black square rimmed glasses. And no make up. Maybe she was a college student. And a hooker. But what hooker doesn’t wear make up? As we passed each other, she discretely pulled the top of her dress closed a bit.

I thought I said hello. If I did, she didn’t return the greeting.

It was . The traffic around us continued to thrive as though we didn’t. As though we were just two ordinary women walking the street. Alone. At night. At . On Sunset Boulevard. Wearing dresses. As we passed each other, I turned back to see if she was thinking the same. If she was, I’ll never know.