Monday, May 25, 2009

My Lifeline.
Part Three.

A couple of months later, I'm walking downtown when I see the Laugh perched on the back of a bench, her black boots are tapping on the wooden seat to the tune of some unknown beat that seemingly never ceases. Right foot, left foot, a quick right, and then a long left, tap, tap, tap. It is mesmerizing and almost hypnotic to anyone who pays attention. What sort of trance might I be under if I drown out all the other downtown noise, all the hustle of the streets and concentrate on the successive taps of the black boots? Tap, tap, tap. Black, tap, black, tap - red? A burning red ember falls and disrupts the tapping. the five foot three inch Laugh stands erect on top of the bench brushing the ash and sparks off her calf length red and black plaid skirt. The black boot is tapping again but this time only to beat out the glowing cherry. I hear a loud click, then see a flame burning in her hands that are covered by long knitted mittens that extend way past bent elbows. With a deep inhale, her exposed fingers are embracing a blend of tobacco and addiction still alive after the near death encounter of the fallen ember.

A cloud of smoke passes in front of me as I exhale into the crowd and weave closer to my final destination. I nervously tap my own burning flame, mimicking the reddish purple streaked, black booted figure perched on the bench. She turns her face towards my direction and I see she's looking for someone, her roommate or a friend perhaps? But how does one make contact with a witty, fast tongued blend of style and charm? Her face catches the light from the afternoon sun and the reddish purple streaks accentuate the dark glitter that sparkles with every squint of her eye. Then she blinks. And if you were close enough, you would be able to see she's stuck. The black mascara was applied a little too thick that day. The black mascara was trying too hard to hide something. Her top and bottom lashes are battling to untangle themselves between black globs. In that moment I notice a flaw, but it's covered up well, the naked eye would never notice it, but I notice. Another blink and her lashes are free; her eyes are open as she confronts the world with a piercing stare armed with black liner decorated with glitter and a streak of forest green across the lids for color.

The black boots are tapping again. My eyes follow the sounds as I see her head bent and the last of her smoke extinguished with every black tap. The flame is dead and she tosses her reddish purple man and faces the world head on. But this time her stare softens, her glittery eyes see something it recognizes and delicate lips smile. She raises her mitten adorned arms and shield her eyes as they squint against the oncoming sun. She's looking at someone. This is the someone she's been waiting for. I look around. Who is it? People race by me and I can't see anyone who notices her. I stop in the sea of moving bodies and disrupt the flow for awhile as people move swiftly to avoid hitting me. The mitten is waving; her exposed fingers make a peace sign. I stand looking around. Who is waving back? I turn to look again and the black boots are tapping once more on the wooden bench and the mittens with the exposed fingers are slapping the black and red plaid, the reddish purple streaks are tossed back, and the Laugh explodes into the air. It was the sound that first enticed me. I release a goofy giggle and feel somewhat sheepish for being a dork, but I'm not so burdened anymore, my load seems lighter, and my baggage somehow dissipated into laughter.

A pumping exposed middle finger is raised in the air, but she is still laughing. I see a flame as she lights another smoke. I reach down into my bag to do the same, then I climb up on the wooden bench she's perched on and sit down. I begin tapping my gray skate shoes with the black boots as my best friend gives me a playful punch and asks, "What took you so long?"


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