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Deep Freeze

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She lights a cigarette and stares out the toe to ceiling picture window, letting her underdone sole and watercress dinner fill her nerves with energy. Tomorrow there’s a presentation – someone’s interviewed Prince, and there’s a retrospective on Hendrix that she has to correct and proof, and she will have to take it apart twice before it comes out right.

Inhale, release. The vodka’s cold in the glass, making her other, open palm ache.

There’s a man sitting across the room, and he’s tall and big, with a shock of blond hair that’s not natural in tone but is thick and well-groomed, and might feel good gathered in her fist. She considers the motion but doesn’t bother to move. It’s after five, and she wants to be persued.

There has been no past for her, not for twenty years, when she left the foster care system and accepted a scholarship in design. They were proud of her in college – the teachers, the faculty. She sends them holiday cards, donates regularly. The only bit of festivity she allows into her life.

She is as remote as a mountain and it’s wholly intentional, even in her painful yearning for romantic connection, for wholeness, for realness. She’s as fatal as an ice pick, even when she’s begging for love.

Sweat sticks her thighs to the stool, keeping her pinioned quietly in place. She crosses and uncrosses them, pressing her knees together. She waits for him to approach. The olive caresses her perfectly made-up lips, and snow sprinkles the sidewalk outside the restaurant. From this height she can see everything. From this height she’s a queen upon her throne.

A hand squeezes down upon her shoulder. Like a blindfold or a rope, it pulls her up and into the deadly abyss of her future, into the starless vortex of his passion.

The smile clicks into place.

A bullet’s in the chamber.

And the smoke gets in her eyes.