Trouble is her only friend

Inspired off the song “Carry you home” by James Blunt

***

She dabbed some concealer onto the faint remains of last night’s shadow. Two coats of mascara made her eyes brighten up, but the bottomless pools that brimmed in her eyes still remained. She was ready to step into the night as yet another survivor of the oppressive heaviness of the day. The city had dried to the bone, fed upon by man and nature alike, but the nightlife promised to drown reality away. She gave one last look to the mirror on her wall. One smile short of the part she would play.

She went into the night as another person. One woman, many parts. A face for each man but none that carried her true mark. The smile though was common to them all, what everyone wanted from her. Smile, wilya?  Pretty girl! smile, wontcha? Smile… baby!

Until the smile became one thin mask- a simple solution- to hide the turbulence inside. She called a cab- a grand appearance to go with the smile. See, the smile? It demanded the best of the world. A smile for a new dress. A smile for a good meal. A smile for that tall drink. A smile for the lover’s kiss.

A lover. She’d seen many of them. They always came with a mission. To escort, to protect, to tower over her person. An unselfish presence that would steer away all her troubles. That’s what they whispered, with a lemony breath, Smile, it’ll be okay. Sometimes, very rarely, and she really believed in this, the smile was almost… honest. But could that be? Could she be washed away by the warmth of his smile, and discover her own? Maybe she did. She must have. By one man she’d met before there was ever a thought of an us. If only she had held on to the possibility by the breadth of two fingers.

Or maybe it would have never mattered. It would be just another story of a man who came in with noble ideals to save the fair lady. Ideals that were only worth the slow-rotting crap of the century they truly belonged to.

The cab rolled by, a quiet spectator to the city’s gigantic presence; the city filled us up and expanded, through her people in their softly growling cars, decorated by information that never mattered, circling statues built for people who they say are like you and me. Except they’re not. They’re really not. We no longer hold any stakes in this city. We belong to a class that desists. With a smile, of course.

The cab stopped in front of what looked like a megalith of the twenty second century. Cars, one glossier than the other, pulled in one after the other. Men and women walked, hand in hand, cigarette in hand, egos the size of their heavy rings in hand. Chin thrusts in tandem with their haughty steps, they easily settled into their niches. The party smelt of new leather and old money. She slowly walked over to the large entrance of an even larger single hall, the ceiling extended all the way to a seventh heaven, chandeliers hung in space like balls of glowering stardust supported by long invisible wires. Making her way through the cars that pulled over by the front stairs, she made it to the bouncer with the guest list.

“Your name, ma’am?”

“Simmons. Karla.”

“There’s nobody registered by that name.”

“I’m Joseph Giovanni’s plus one.”

“Oh, Our guest’s personal guest!” He flushed “I’m sorry ma’am. Please make your way through.”

The bouncer ushered her in with an appreciative look. She was dressed in a gift that Joseph had sent over that morning to her work desk- a long white dress that was intricately embroidered in black, at the neck, in a way that made it seem tattooed to her skin. It had a bold cut to the side that ran high up her thigh. It was ravishing. A little too bold for her usual taste but she was feeling unnaturally feisty and experimental.

She had met Joseph a few weeks ago at a charity event where she was performing. He was the benefactor of the new non-profit trust that had opened and the charity event was thrown to create public awareness. She was no Adele or Mariah Carey, but she reckoned she sang okay. He had approached her after the performance then managed to whisk her away after for an exclusive dinner. She met with him for a while until last night… he had come to her apartment crazy drunk, got physical, and left her bruised and humiliated. And then the balls to send over that dress!

Well, she’d taunt him and torture him in that very dress.The invitation to one of his parties, where he spent time throwing away money, still lay on her couch. She finally made up her mind to put it to good use.

Karla strut into the ball looking gorgeous in her flowing gown. As the elite men eyed her and the aristocratic city women scrutinized her, she made her way straight to Joseph, her eyes hardly met the inquisitive eyes of the onlookers as she calmly dropped a frosted martini, on the rocks, at his face. As he jerked away in surprise, she neatly kneed him in the groin in her womanly gown, and softly added, Dare you hit another woman again, asshole. While she walked out, she picked up a random coat from the fancy coat hangers thinking Oops, I stole a fifteen hundred dollar coat. She laughed. Why would anyone spend so much for a damned coat?

She tightened the coat around herself and hailed a cab. With a sense of accomplishment but not of completion, she followed her impulse. The cab driver followed her instructions and drew into a quiet driveway in a familiar neighbourhood. She approached the doorway tentatively, unsure of what would follow. She knocked, waiting with a bated breath. The door was opened by a young man in his pullovers with a second day stubble. He looked visibly astounded to have met a beautiful woman at his doorstep while he stood awestruck in his pajamas. His mouth broke into a grin, chiding her, it said, What in the world is up with you? 

She answered with a smile.

Meghana Yerabati

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