Does she look like a sheltering bomb? Or like a crumpled ball of words? Does she, moreover, remind you of your mother before your mother turned grey? I mean the blackness of her hair and the blackness of her eyes? They do say, as you well know, that we men are attracted, first of all, to that something about our mothers.
She is well-worn, it is true, and well past the clichés. She does, indeed, walk in beauty like the night. She is, also, the possessor of the cherriest red lips you ever did see. She knows, more to the point, that all of this is true. And as you know, we always favour what is true over the cliché of dirty lies.
She stoops to conquer, bends in the middle so that the over-ripe fruit falls heavily from the top of her head. The way it lands on your shoes, the sickening splat. You step back as if to admire her further, wiping the toes of your shoes on the backs of your trouser legs. Still she bends and you feel like her master, although you know that the pain of her stoop is the reason for her bend. She should straighten herself out, you say, later, to gales of ill-won laughter. Her shoes, glass, on the other side of the room, crack from the height of the pitch. The pumpkin escapes, the mice meander.
Her caution thrown to the wind one morning as she sat next to the bare table of small candle and hard bread. From her window, the London Victorian rooftops, the jump of the chimney brushes, the steam from the factory whistles. You, your snap in your hand, it was your turn to stoop, bending in the middle, just a little. Your daily morning promise of better to come and her new life of stardust and stardom. The happiness she sat, all day long, just dreaming of. And you, out at work all day long. For what? So she could sit on her ring and while it away with her dreams.
Her cross wilted somewhat and bent also in the middle, the other way, affording a nice fit. She climbed the stoop, past well-wishers and enemies, slowly made her way to the top. She called to you, one evening, called your name through an airborne whisper that curled like gravy through the turns of the city, down byways and flyways, up pavements and through gutters, reaching you as you slept. Her gentle tones enough to stir you. And you too made your way up that hill, your progress impeded by the threats of death and the reality of pain, dragged on by the calling of her voice. You made your way through it all, finally reaching the top days after your departure, weakened, limbless, about to drop. And she, her bend still apparent, telling you how she could see your house from up there.
Her heartbreak against the brush of your letter is no less real against the lies that you write. Her tears force the push of the ink, your typewritten safeguard washed clean away. In careful slumber your letter is inserted, between and beneath the oppression of, uh, rose petals, potpourri and happy herbs. Every time she opens the drawer, the sniff of decay, the whistle from your ink. No less though the story of her broken heart. It is like a funeral parlour in there.
She is, at first, the only place you would want to be. Her openness guarantees you those walks by moonlight, the trips along Cantalaga Bridge where the pavement widens before you, rises up like a shadow to meet your feet. Your arm around her, your fist in her pocket, the moon a perfect frame as you are captured before it. Its flash searing you against the surface of its grain.