An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mad old witch

Her head cast down she stares into the remains of another vodka tonic. Around her eyes the skin is palegrey and papery ... like paper that has been stored too long ... dead paper ... dry paper ... paper delicate and prone to tear. And wrinkled ... her sad long years and post-menopausal condition writ large ... etched even onto a skin never truly young. The hooded eyes themselves palegrey too. Palegrey and watery ... as though about to cry ... always, as though she is about to cry. She seldom cries though .. she is too distant from her emotions now to cry ... except from pure anger and frustrated desires. Alcohol, age, and anger have supplanted life itself in her daily being ... don't call it a life ... have drained the vitality from her ... she is dry outside and dead inside. Sad Liz they call her in this sad bar. Mad old witch, the local children call after her in the street.

Her hair is grey too ... greypale and lifeless ... a dulled pewter helmet ... cut short when he reached 40 all those years ago ... cut short as her mother's hair had been ... cut and not styled. There is something about her that reminds the casual onlooker of the institution ... and then they look away ... the living do not look comfortably or for long upon the dead ... and the spark is not in her ... just pain ... and self-loathing ... and undirected hatred. The slice of lemon that has sunk to the bottom of her glass looks back at her ... mocks her ... derides her ... or so she thinks.

Her mouth turns down at the corners ... habitually, inexorably down ...  her father always maintained that she had never smiled in her life ... not even as a baby gurgling in her cot had she ever smiled ... her eyes, he swore, might glint but that downturned thin lipped slit in the bottom half of her face had never smiled. Over the long sad years she had learned to turn the corners up under duress ... to mimic a smile ... to try to pass for normal ... but it would not convince. It was hard work and since her latest boyfriend had walked out she had not mustered that much effort.

Her father. Her boyfriend. The stories she had. The stories she could tell ... if only there were someone to listen. Someone who would even pretend ... it didn't have to be real ... pretence had always been enough ... it would be enough for now. For all time in fact. She pushed her fingertip, lightly yellowed and deeply ridged, through a pool of spillage on the tabletop and wondered. Another drink? Yes, but when? She knew to within a penny how much she had in her purse ... her mother's purse as was ... not just today ... not just now but at all times on all days ... another of her obsessions ... she had enough for three more drinks ... more if she forewent food ... the cod and chips on the way home to her empty house ... not her house really ... not yet but she would have it ... it would be hers ... he couldn't walk out like that and leave her dry ... drier. He would pay ... they all paid one way or another. She nodded to the passing waiter ... another drink appeared ... they knew her here ... how could they not ... despite the alarming turnover of staff ... young, pretty things ... mostly antipodeans ... she spent more time here than most of the staff ... all of the staff ... well, except for Keith.

No comments:

Post a Comment