Sunday Scribblings: Observations

Observations
The locket is silver, about the size of a nickel and it rests on a cheap chain and she can’t help but keep fingering it.
Her thumb, unpainted and gnawed on, does delicate swirls on the locket’s smooth face. She looks out the window, sad eyes that are reflected back in the dirty reflection.
We’re on the Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line, the one that goes to City College, Times Square, but it doesn’t look like she’ll get off at any of these. There are hunches; there are observations.
She was already on, meaning she originated in the Bronx, when I get on at Washington Heights. I’m headed to Penn Station; I think she’ll exit there, too.
She’s wearing an olive Army jacket, probably picked up at a surplus store and two sizes too big, which she compensates for by folding the cuffs over to her elbows.
Under the jacket is a T-shirt, black, and when she twists to fiddle with her iPod, I notice it’s an Arctic Monkeys concert T.
Her black jeans are faded; there’s spots where she’s tried to reintroduce color with a Sharpie, but that’s led to a blotchy, cancerous look. The leg ends are frayed, strands of cotton bloom like brush.
The sandals look almost like an afterthought; something you pick up at Coney Island for walking on the hot, filthy sand. Her toenails are painted black, chipped and are in serious need of a re-coat.
Her hair is dyed raven-black, the kind of sinister hue that seems to absorb all the light in the room. It’s shoulder-length, straight and she parts it down the middle. When she hangs her head – which she does often – the hair envelopes her eyes like theater curtains.
With her left hand – the one opposite of stroking the locket – she pushed the hair off her eyes, looks back out the window, sighs.
Her eyebrows are drawn on.
The same for the heavy-handed eyeliner under her eyes, which are deep brown, soulful. The eyes of cows in a slaughter line.
Her skin looks like what you’d get it you dipped tissue paper in milk. Which helps to accentuate her lips, full and pink like bubblegum. She licks them, but it doesn’t do anything to hydrate the cracks and bits of loose skin. I feel like giving her my tube of Chapstick, but that’s too forward. Too creepy.
She looks from the window to me, gives me a smile. Her cheeks go flush, and she goes back to looking out he window. Her thumb and index finger dance on the locket.
The unintelligible announcement, the squeal of metal and we’re stopped at Penn Station. She grabs the canvas messenger bag, throws it over the bulky jacket, takes a look back at me.
My cheeks go flush.
I hurry out the door, catch her before we hit the stairs.
“I’m sorry, I just need to know,” I say.
“Yeah?”
“The locket, it seems special. Is there a picture.”
I cringe, wait for either a slap to the face, or the tirade of expletives.
She laughs.
“It’s a lock of hair. Mine. In a half-hour, I get my first chemo treatment at Sloan-Kettering.”
I ask, absent-minded, if she wouldn't mind if I tagged along.

6 comments:

Granny Smith said...

What an excellent character study done in vividly descriptive observation of visual details! You are a very talented writer! As flash fiction, with the few lines of dialog at the end, it is also a complete story.

GreenishLady said...

Yes, a wonderful story. What a pen-picture you make of the girl.

Quin Browne said...

ah, been there. i just watched mine hit the sink, though.

well done, and i'm waiting for my first sentence, mista mister.

danni said...

such an engaging tale, so sooo rich wih imagery and detail, nice little twist to wrap it up - very good!!!

Brenda said...

Very nice study with wonderfully drawn descriptions! I find it interesting that you noted the sandals and jeans before the hair color!

RachelRenae said...

Brilliant, dude. I'm wrapped up in it.