Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Rest Stop

The fire escape is old, but has been repainted in dull primer, hiding the rust. She steps out of the window onto the metal platform, dressed for the sudden onset of hot weather in a short denim skirt and brown vest. Work is dispatched first, with an array of humdrum washing being arranged carefully on a drying rack. Then comes the reward; five short minutes spent in the warm sunshine. She sits on a step of the metal stairs, attempting to light a cigarette in the gentle breeze with a rhythmic click click of her failing lighter. Eventually the end glows satisfyingly and she pockets the lighter. With the nicotine comfort coursing through her she relaxes further, and sliding down an extra step her feet are now propped against the lip of the platform. A lovely posture. The cigarette is finished and she dreams she were far away from here. Far away from terraced housing and a weed-strewn garden. She tilts her head back and the sun tickles her throat. She wishes it was soft water from an azure sea. A thoughtful smile brightens her hard-working face for just those last few moments. She stands up suddenly and steps back through the window opening. A soft click of the latch, and she is gone.

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