So, okay, it’s two paragraphs from The Caitiff today – Sue me!
It may have been the influx of alcohol in my system, not enough to make me hold the world in contempt, but enough to make maudlin in my semi-middle age, but I could have cried for them then. They looked like children in their mother’s dresses, like babes playing dress up and hoping the world would play along, ever fearful that they might be discovered for the children they are. They were wild animals, robins disguised as crows disguised as robins, hiding their frailty behind a deliberate exposure of their bodies. How were they not cold, I remember asking myself, with their arms bare and their legs descending from their naively bright dresses into heeled shoes strapped around their ankles? Their humour died as they drew closer to me, the five silhouettes turning eerily silent, like assassins approaching a target. I wondered what they could see of me, what sudden panic my blacked out visage might have summoned within them. Was I an inconvenience to them, a blip on the radar of their enjoyment; was I the source of their sudden silence? Or had they simply run out of things to laugh at?
They stank of vodka and cheap perfume. Of rushed meals and pre-drinks and crying their makeup away in the bathroom, listening to their friends’ enjoyment in an adjacent room. They reeked of nightclubs and early-morning walks home. They seemed to emanate a sense of forced enjoyment, of falsity. These were the girls who wrote on fridges in permanent marker and told themselves they were unique. These were the girls who took photographs of themselves as a validation of their existence, as a buffet for their ego, as a fishing line to drop amongst the gaping carp of the internet and reel in insincere compliments, pretending to toss the back into the pond even as they used their catch to reinforce their ego.