She came to the park every day with sad eyes and a notebook. Violet with the smooth chocolate hair held back with a pink barrette and the huge liquid eyes that were almost cartoonish in size. Violet who was barely five feet tall and, in her own opinion, was built far too much like a young boy to be found beautiful by anyone. Violet who longed to be a curvy starlet like Sophia Loren, but would never be more than a flat chested mouse of a girl, and desperately tried to hide herself under sweaters and long dresses.
The accordion player came to the park every day as well and played songs of love and longing. When Violet listened to the sound and the way it echoed in the nearby stone underpass she felt like she was by the Seine.
Her lips were far too full for such a fragile bird-like girl. She had no right to have lips like that. It was, among other things, unfair.
There was an aesthetic there, in her dress, which was layers of diaphanous sepia silk and gauzy cotton. The way her hair was timeless, retro, modern, all at once. The softness around the edges of her pale and thin body. Like she was captured by an old camera.
If she were a picture I could keep her under my bed, in a secret box, to finger her edges when alone.
Instead I took her for drinks and nervously edged around her silence and her eyes. And longed for her lips. Her lips on a glass, her lips on a cigarette, her lips on a straw, her lips on everything but mine.
Her notebook was absurd in its delicacy. A fountain pen, mahogany ink, a script so fine it could be another language. Surely English was far too clumsy a choice for words so precise.
If her lips were unfair then her words were cruelly beautiful. Melancholy and full of longing. One of those stories that is at once sad and yet so lovely you can’t help but smile.
The hesitation bloomed into tension, then my chance (if I had one) was gone.
So it goes.
I’ll give him credit, he was damn respectful. I mean, we’d been there for a week and a half and we’d been pushed and pulled together over and over again and he never made a move. Every hour my body grew more hungry, though my days were full of songs and chants and raised signs.
I saw him go from a clean cut college kid in a cardigan and jeans into a scruffy looking anarchist, red faced from screaming and garbed in the mishmash of sweaters and coats we’d all gotten from donations.