She holds her cigarette carelessly, standing on her balcony overlooking the city smog. Her nipples peak against the lightly woven texture of her top, more sexual than being completely unclothed, their shape unmistakable in her womanly profile. She takes a long drag, swallows it lest for the few smoky strands lingering, then releases the grey cloud in a quick burst, contributing in her own small way of pollution towards the whole.
“What are you thinking about?” The man asks. He sits on her couch studying her back, fingertips resting in precaution atop the keys of an old type writer.
“Sex. Life. How the mind works. Insanity.”
“Humanity.” He offers.
He pauses. “It doesn’t have to be like this you know.”
“And what is it that I would know.”
The man takes a moment to ponder this, staring hard at his blank page, willing the words to emerge.
“You could be great.”
“Possibility is neither a reflection of potential or of great character.”
She lets drifts of cigarette smoke comfort her, as it covers her in an imperfect veil, makes her interesting; cover all that her underwear and tank top covers. She turns around to face the man, her arms dangling on the rail.
“Is this the answer that you crave?”
He tries to think of a wise cracking answer but can only afford a wistful I don’t know. The sun is setting; her silhouette becomes more emphasized, accented by a single dot of ember. Mysterious. Is she really? There is no she. She is only a brief description, as is their time together, a stolen evening which will surrender when the sky calls onto the sun. She is not the bright star but the cloaking space that knows no beginning to end. A spectacle, a conundrum, a confinement in its oddity – the man types something and quickly has it erased again.
He tries again. “So what drives you to be an artist?”
“The silly masochistic fantasy to be enslaved by imaginary thoughts.”
“And yet there are only so many that dies in belated recognition.”
She smiles in spite of herself, and keeps her silence.
“What brings you here, to be you.”
She wants to say I don’t know, but curbs herself. “I could ask you the same; what brings you here?”
“And what am I?”
“A difficult piece of work.”
Another tweak at the corner of her mouth. The man gives up his questioning. She will not answer straight forwardly. Instead, he observes her.
Another time ago she was reflective, complete as a mirror. Today, she is intriguing, maddening in her seemingly random assembly of misconstruction. As if an imaginative child had begun a project and forgot to give it a purpose.
She is looking at him, but past him also. At the yet to be typed words that is her, her short brown fingers transcending into the letters, touching, essentially, herself. It is foreboding to know. She sees him struggle against himself and wonders what it takes to make a character. The evening grows colder and her outermost skin layer begins to abandon the luxury of overall warmth. If you look closely, the tiny hairs on her arms create a highlighted halo around her against the bloody sky. Heightened for a thrill; her creation.
She refocuses on him regarding her. His silence differs from her diffidence. Whereas he has no doubts of himself, mind for the usual humane vain, she is lost, finding it hard to decipher where the ink and scribbles began against the weight of her compiled atom, her share in the strings of time continuously stretching into tomorrows possibilities, and yesterdays could haves. She wonders how much of this he already knows. Her incompleteness is not a lacking trait for her. She does not mind as much as the writer across from her does.
Who is she really, she thinks. Difficult she jabs; a concoction of other worldly genetics, bringing about a true mad genius. Her mind buzzes with words, none of which she can pick out to offer a poor self-description.
Her stimulus comes too close to truth when she pictures herself falling, off the edge of her consciousness, with the surreal quality of physical displacement; the lurch of quickening pulse, the rise of all organs inside her. It is not so frightening if you can’t see. Keep looking up, until the sky falls into a universal spiral. Like the vortex receiving Alice in her wonderland. That is what it would be like if she were to go off this roof. And she knows that with these thoughts, another reality somewhere coexisting with hers has fallen. Yet she lives.
The insistent clacking of well used keys continues. Ding. Slide.
He does not know this, or rather forges ahead regardless; her self-containment is received only with curiosity, perhaps a brazen hope to be its change. She interests him because her words are of present, it lives, until a begotten writer, left over by his frenzy adrenaline closes the chapter, sets the page aside from the typewriter, then empties his day old coffee; the words sinking and becoming a page rather than a story. But she is alive to him tonight.
And this is what they want she thinks, a deep inhale of toxin. She is the toxin.