Tonight she watches. Legs crossed, head cocked, a bemused smile on her lips. A softly fuming cigarette at her fingertips. The taste of vodka.
Young girls in next-to-nothing and older girls in less circle the room in desperation. They freshen their faces. They hedge their bets. Pull down tops and pull up skirts.
Wager your self-respect and you could win the man of your dreams.
When she finally chooses him, it is without celebration. She was the only one in the room without “please want me” in her eyes. And, as such, they all did.
The flick of an eyebrow, the slow exhale of a cigarette.
The painted faces fall as they exit. He was the bet they were all placing.
Chip stacks crumble. Another spray of perfume.
And afterward, she rises. She doesn’t need to tell him to go. Only to walk slowly to the balcony and with her wine glass and the sunrise.
She is alone again already, just as she likes it.
A stone balcony, a blazing horizon, soft curves and a gently fuming cigarette.
He has forgotten the painted faces of the evening. It is only her silhouette that remains.
He watches her, just for a moment, before closing the door.
What happens when one opts out of reproduction and throws herself into self-absorbed hedonism? They pack their cigarettes, thigh highs and trench coat and head for London town. These are the stories of the Barreness, our London correspondent. This piece was originally posted on her blog. Image based on a picture by Anirudh Koul.