This week, post-meltdown, has been full of focusing on the specifics of character and story, the kind of specificity that doesn’t just reveal what kind of cigarette a character smokes, but the precise hue of her puce-colored lipstick1 that stains her lips, either striated in the exact replica of the protagonist’s lips, with each crinkled lipstick channel indicating her forty-seven years like the rings of a tree, or the exact amount of fading that occurs after the third sip of the second gin2 martini. And with those details nailed down comes the emotional culling hidden behind her gestures of drinking and smoking, like peeling back her epidermis of anxiety to reveal a fibrous layer of anger, which veils the grainy dusting of fear, which provides a slightly opaque scrim for the raw, pink sheath of desire that prickles and yearns to be sated by the love of her object of desire who lounges youthfully at the end of the Wedgwood3-blue chintz couch in a rose silk robe, whose sash is frayed more on the right end than the left, who is resting on her ecru-colored knee as she swings her thin shin and foot casually back and forth while her copper eyes, draped by creamy eyelids like window shades on a sweltering August afternoon at 2:37, roam the protagonist’s aging face in such a seductive way that she exhales her last drag of the Lucky Strike with a force that creates a tornado among the millions of dust motes floating in the apartment4 air, which is highlighted by the four o’clock pre-evening sun peeking in through the living room window which is covered by a black-fringed scarlet shawl5 that the protagonist imagines with stunning clarity as part of her object’s body as she stares at the dust mote, the 33rd one down from the top and 14th from the right of where the trumpet of sunlight begins, before she decides what the affect will be if she tells this bobbed young woman, 28 ¾ inches away from her, that even though she is old and even though she is famous, she feels a vibration so strong within herself that she is positive it is shaking the empty space between them and if this object of affection were to reject her once she declares her unrelenting compulsion to memorize every inlet, outlet, mountain and valley of her body, only to begin once she possesses the loyalty of her heart and has exhausted the intangible that is her soul, she would still remember the exact shape and location of the dust mote that floated a mere seven inches from the curve of her right cheek, when asked by a shabby, blond newspaper man ten years down the road if this protagonist has ever been in love.
1. In 1936, this would have been Max Factor Ruby Fizz.↩
2. A bottle of Gilbey’s Gin, 5/8 full, kept in the cupboard above the sink next to the crushed-ice-maker.↩
3. A grey-blue color named after Josiah Wedgwood. Protagonist received a Wedgwood vase as a gift from her mother upon publication of her first book. The vase sits on her desk and holds pencils that are never used.↩
4. One bedroom apartment on the fourth floor[a] located at 25 St. Mark’s Place, New York City, NY.↩
5. The musty scent of Irresistible can be detected when a light breeze blows in through the shawl.↩
a. Apt. 403.↩