The scene changes quickly. She comes skipping out of the shop, bags in each hand. A cheeky teenager going shopping for prom. The smile wide across her face, as she stoops down and sets the bags on the side walk, reaching her hands inside them. Pulling out the shoes, showing them off, and of course, the clothes. I try to force this approving smile, and tell her how pretty they are, but she’s not buying my pathetic lie. Same goes for the halter tops and mini skirts. Awkward smile, empty compliments. Hoping that my chain smoking disguises my aversion. I imagine the way traffic perceives our trio as they pass us by. Two teenage females, girls really, standing in front of a blacked out sex shop with a restless, pacing crook. Our thin, hollowed bodies, the branding of our decline. The dark circles under our eyes. The sullen, whiter shade of pale masking our youthful features.
The cab ride to Babyface’s small white townhouse house feels like the paddy wagon ride to closed custody. Just as cold, just as barren. The cab smells like outside debris and hot, stale lunch boxes. The little radio painfully blaring some kind of easy listening generic rock band. Maybe it was Phil Collins, maybe Celine Dion. Maybe even, George Micheal’s. None the less, it was in bad taste. At least a handful of times, I’m drawn to glaring at the door handle. The little silver peg of a lock. Imagining what it would feel like to open the door, throw myself out and roll into traffic. What’s the statistic likely hood that I’d get hit by a car. Would it be fatal. Is it worth a mangled leg, and road rash across my back and elbows.
She sits beside me, black plastic bags twisted in her slender hands. Staring down at them in an all consuming gaze. The deep cut from the window glass, has finally started to heal over and close up. Creating a shiny pink scar around the edges. She scratches and tugs at it constantly, and I tend to reach out and hold that hand. Gently covering the area with my fingers, and resting her hand in my lap. She does it when she’s nervous or afraid, and I take pride in being able to sooth it. There are so many things about her, that I love. The freckles that splash across her nose, the way it crinkles up when she laughs. Her eyes sparkling like a Santa Clause coke commercial. The long mousy brown curls of her hair. The way it looks full and buoyant, but when you touch it, it’s light and soft, like a toddlers hair. The heavy french accent that comes along with all her words. Adding this child like innocence as she presses out each phrase, with a beginners charm. I often smile when she talks, she gets embarrassed, and asks me why I always do that. Lowering her head sheepishly, the long curls covering her face, and she hides from me in them. Thinking to myself, how unbelievably adorable she can be, and the purity I see in her heart, more often then not. The way she flirts with everyone she meets. Not over the top or desperate, but like a keen student, eager to offer praise and adoration. Always asking questions about them personally, and diverting the attention from herself. With a kind of sweet confidence everyone seemed to adore.
Holding her hand in the back seat, I’m grateful the cab ride is longer than I had expected. I don’t want to let go of the warmth inside of her palm. The soothing engine, and the turning wheels. Lulling me in this moment of recognizing the beautiful parts of this bond, and how far away, they truly feel to me. The last few weeks playing across my mind in a series of clips and half scenes. The mornings I’d watch her sleep. The sun bringing with it a quiet warmth, and the light from the drawn curtain running across her face. The nights we’d lay in bed, confessing ourselves to each other. Rummaging through our life experiences, our memories. Our secrets. How many times, I told her, I won’t let anything happen to you. It’s you and me against it all. You and me, and here we are, sitting in the back of a filthy cab, on our way to settle up how many blow jobs it’s going take to repay those items. Black plastic bags filled with sorrow. Filled with weeping.
The cabs halts to a stop, and her hand quickly tightens around mine.
The heart beat quickening, pulling at my breath.
The screeching of the hinges on the car door, as Babyface steps out.
My hand shaking as I reach for mine.
Letting go of her warm, fragile hand, and feel the cold air hit my palm.
Instant, and heart falling.
In a flash moment, I think of grabbing her and sitting back down. Slamming the door with a quick lock, and yelling at the driver to go. Drive as fast as you can, and don’t stop.
But I don’t.
I walk beside her, two white rabbits persuaded towards a twisted snare.