gin and tonic
Perched elegantly on the edge of my bed, I carefully apply polish to my finger nails. Red talons to match the red stiletto shoes standing on the dressing table.
As the buttery glow of the late afternoon sunlight infusing the room changes to shades of mauve and purple, I think, with a frisson of pleasure, of the journey home on the subway. Think of how the good-looking young man sat opposite had reacted as I casually crossed my legs, my short skirt riding up my thigh. He had looked up, looked into my cornflower blue eyes. I gave him a soft inviting smile with my ruby red lips and enjoyed, felt empowered, by his look of admiration edged with lust. I just knew he watched, felt his eyes follow me, as I left the carriage at Brooklyn and sashayed along the platform, passing his carriage window, hips undulating, feeling real pleased with my performance.
I complete my nails, hold them up, consider them against the glossy red of the leather. Buying the shoes had been another milestone in becoming me. My drunken mom and abusive father would not recognise the adult version of their child. One day I'll go home, go to Aliceville and sit in their trashy diner, order seafood gumbo and watch them; an anthropologist observing some low life species. There again, maybe I won't. Why bother? Why waste the time?
My nail polish is dry. I slowly roll the nylons up my smooth legs and connect them to the corset studs. Then I stand and lift the dress I will wear tonight over my head, let the delicate smooth fabric slide, like warm tidal water softly rippling down my body. I ease the red stilettos onto my feet then stand in self appraisal, in front of the full length mirror with the ornate frame, that leans against the wall. Maybe the red earnings? The red handbag?
The hum of the lift ascending distracts me.
The doorbell rings. I walk with elegant choreographed movement down the corridor. I look down at my scarlet tipped fingers as I brush them across the white petals of the flowers arranged in the vase on the console table, before I noisily undo the elaborate locking mechanism and open the door.
'Hi, I'm looking for George Morgan. I heard he lives here.'
It's my younger brother, my much younger brother. I lean against the door frame and fold my arms trying to look nonchalant. Which I'm not.
'He don't live here.'
'But I really need to find him bad.' He looks like he really does.
'Yeah, well, he ain't here.'
His face crumples. 'Don't know what I'm gonna do now. My Mom's died and my Pa's thrown me out. I really need to find my brother.'
I'm shocked, sad even, but not surprised. For a heartbeat I stare at my twelve year old brother. Memories spill in my mind. Of happy times before it all went bad. I guess that's what you do when someone dies. Think of the happy times.
'Gee, Eddie, I'm so, so sorry, you better come on in.'
I clasp my confused kid sibling close to my heart. Twelve years old. He'll need mothering right now.
About the author
Sandy's poems The Caress of Spring and The Arc of Time have been included in the international poetry anthology Indra's Net published by Bennison Books. All profits are donated to Book Bus, a charity that provides libraries for children in Africa, Asia and South America.
Indra's Net is available from Amazon.