It was a place of corners, where you could feel safely enclosed by these sides, exposing only the side you wanted seen. The population a smattering of pretentiousness and glitter; flickers shimmering in the moody light to draw attention away from the shattered hopes that peer through the veil of indifference. In a corner she sat, of course they all sat in corners. The air hung a little heavier about her corner; the little round table suitable for nothing more than an ashtray and a drink or two was already littered. It was clear she had been sitting there for some time, pondering acts and telling herself that when she left here she would never return.
It was a lie of course. They always come back. Every last one of them comes back. They can't help but come back to the place that provides an uneasy sense of comfort. The place where you can ease slightly back into your corner and pull your dirty little round table in front of you. An ineffable barrier stained with drink rings and littered with the ash of thousands of tiny volcanoes.
She had that table planted firmly in front of her and she pulled deeply on a cigarette, her eyes lidded as she inhaled the toxins, her lips pursed in the picture of a fiery orchid that Georgia O'Keefe would have died to paint. The glow of the burning ember lit the shadows of her face and bounced lightly off the glitter scattered about her exposed chest. A merry trail of stars leading to a sumptuous unknown. Such a display was sadly too common in these corners. The effectiveness lost in the trite replication. The sad secrets once held in these bustiers have been whispered too many times. Where once hungry hands and mouths eagerly feasted only the desperate turned to for comfort.
She tilted her head back, exhaling deeply. Venting the toxins in a violent plume of exasperation. Watching the murky cloud of forgotten moments, dispelling hers into the mass of tragic humanity. Staring into that artificial cloud, her head thrown back, her neck taut and exposed, she seemed a picture of something that was, a brief flicker that rode down her neck following the curves of her body and dancing along her aura. It seemed to light up her corner, dispelling the ever-present cloud of sighs and stale nicotine for a brief moment. Dropping her head it passed, the exposed glimmering curves folding in on themselves and the quiet desperation obscured the corner once again.
Taking one last violent drag she stabbed the cigarette into the overflowing ashtray. The lipstick stained butt jutting out like a beacon to a lost sailor, a flash of murderous color on the end of a momentary sedative. She stood up tottering briefly, testimony to the indulgences and efforts to quiet the endless internal keening, and surveyed the room. Peering through the murkiness into the corners occupied by others. After a few searching moments she took a tentative step, and another. Watching her walk was watching the puppeteer in practice. An uncertain, graceless performance that gradually smoothes and suddenly it seems the puppet was alive! She walked and I watched the transformation as she approached my corner. By the time she reached my clouded sanctuary the woman that sat in that heavy corner was but a dream waiting behind the veil of wakefulness, waiting always to reclaim you, pulling you in your vulnerable moments.
She sat without a word, seemingly indifferent to my presence. Her legs crossed, the elevated foot bouncing a lazy beat. Her calf flexing and relaxing under hosiery that tainted her legs an unnatural hue. She pulled out a cigarette, pursing it gently between her lips and turning in to finally acknowledge my presence. The cold tang of sulphur curled in my nose as I struck the match to light her cigarette. Leaning into the flame she inhaled as I stared, boring through the reflection and gouging into her, seeking.