The table is grubby white plastic much like her heart, propped up in the dead of winter and sprinkled with peppery flecks of cigarette ash as the wind blows cold around the side of the house.
She is supposed to be doing whatever it is she is supposed to be doing. Folding laundry. Vacuuming the last of the dry pine needles left behind from the remnants of a holiday spent indoors with more than a little bit of booze and sadness mixed in, too.
But instead, she is sat outside in the frigid air at the corner of the patio crunched into this rickety table which wobbles because one of its cheap legs is cracked and neither she nor he has bothered to invest in a new one.
The smoke tastes like fire and burns her lungs but it feels good to feel alive and as though if there has to be pain, at least she is in control of it. At least she’s doing it to herself.
Looking out across the fenced in yard, she exhales great plumes of white smoke and watches as the snow begins to flutter down and settle on the frozen ground.
In her mind, images of years ago when she was young and ripe and could have any boy she wanted with just the wink of her eye and the flick of her long auburn hair. It’s funny how the years go by without you noticing. How you can watch the seasons turn in the palm of your hand but you can’t see much past the end of your nose.
When the sky turns purple and the stars begin to bud high above the naked winter trees, she sips her wine and tugs her old coat around her tighter. There once was a guy whose touch made her weak. Whose voice was low and commanding. He left her for someone heavier, told her she was too thin. He liked a woman’s curves he could grab a hold of, something to squeeze.
Everyone was a body inside a body back then. She’s always been a mind, a heart, a soul as wide and expansive as the sea, but who has the time for that when there is money to be spent and suits to fit into and plans to be made.
Crushing out her cigarette into the little ceramic ashtray that she got at a road side flea market a while back, she catches a glimpse of the pretty house across the street. In each of its perfect tiny windows, a red heart decoration glistens with flashy glitter and lace.
Love. You can stab it all to hell but it always attempts a come back.
Photo by Tiko Giorgadze