She smoked because that’s what classy, rich, and powerful women do in motion pictures and fashion magazines. But she was hardly rich and trashy at best.
Every Friday night she wore some black thing and always two sheer thigh highs held in place by gurdel clips that I saw for the first time lying on the floor in her room the weekend after Johnny left.
I always stared at her as she shifted through her bag, looking for a cigarette before walking out into the night. She was probably used to it because she always looked back–a fag nestled between her naturally pink lips–with this basked and unashamed look in her eyes.
One night, she thought to explain herself to me when she saw me sitting on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn on my lap and a box of Audrey Hepburn classic films on the coffee table. I’d just finished Sabrina–the one where Audrey falls in love with the grossly older but significantly more intelligent brother–when she pulled out her box of American Spirits and acknowledged me with dark eyes.
“I hate women who fuss with appearances.”
“And you don’t?” I indicated to her tight everything.
She raised an eyebrow quizzically and then she laughed upon glancing her outfit in the mirror in the foyer, as if she had no idea how her clothes even got there on her body. “No this isn’t what I mean, they come off quickly. I’m talking about handbags.“
I shut off the TV and looked at her with feigned intent.
“You know…” She lit a match and brought it to the end of her cigarette. “Men aren’t like hand bags, even though women want them just as much.” Then she waved away the flame and flicked the blackened thing somewhere across the room. “Coach, Kors, Gucci, Chanel. They spend thousands of dollars on animal skin. And for what?”
“Bags don’t bite their bottom lip when your hand grazes over their groin.”
“Bags don’t push you down on a bed and have their way with you.”
“And most importantly… I don’t wear men to impress other women.”
She looked my untouched self squarely in the eyes, as if she were going to tell me a secret, teach me a lesson that Sabrina, or Princess Ann, or Holly Golightly could never tell me because of 1960s censorship.
“Do you think that the first thing a man notices when he’s looking for someone to fuck is their purse?”
“He doesn’t care if you are rich or stylish or even educated. In most instances the only time he will ever interact with you is without any clothes on. And honestly, you can’t shame him when you’re wanting him for the same things too.”
“He may have chose me for the simple reason that I am a woman…”
Then she stepped towards me, with the cigarette in between two fingers and that hand on her hip.
“But it will only happen because I choose for it to happen.”
And then we were face to face.
“Judge me all you want. Question my taste in men. But at the end of the day…”
I know she thought about inhaling again, but she did not move at all.
“One of us… is fucking someone they are very sexually attracted to. And the other?”
“…Is riding her hand.”
She smiled once more before she strutted back to the front door.
“So,” I said, and she turned around. “Is that your rationalization for whoring yourself out every weekend?”
I don’t even know how we ever grew up in the same household.