She is short, barely five feet. Her hair is a deep red color and hangs in soft curls around her face and shoulders. Her skin is pale, just a hint of color from the sun. Her eyes are the shade of dirty pennies, a thing that isn’t striking on the penny, but is in her eyes. Simply, and not so simply, she is beautiful. I have envied and adored her from the moment of our first meeting, which was a criminally short time ago. I feel like I should have known her for years. That we could have shared many things, done many things, and all that has been wasted because we were never in the same place until recently.
When she speaks, her voice comes mid-range, at an acceptable volume and coated in a thick Russian accent. It, aside from the accent, is fairly ordinary, yet it soothes me. Hers is a voice that fits the way she looks, and her personality. A trait that I don’t ever think about until it happens, then I can’t stop thinking about it.
Oh, her personality. She has a subdued excitement. She loves life and every part of living. She doesn’t need to say such things out loud. It just comes through naturally. She is nearly the opposite of me in that respect. Life doesn’t hold the same appeal, and I am not so easily read on my feelings.
Somehow we still mesh. There is no reason for us to be friends. We have very little in common. Our likes and dislikes, our hobbies, our friends, none of it matches. Yet we have an ease together that didn’t have to be grown. It was always there from the start. It’s a thing I contemplate, but don’t take for granted. It is to be cherished. There are so few friendships such as this in a lifetime. Less for somebody like me. I do not trust many. I do not blend in with society. I do not socialize with strangers willingly. She slipped right past all of that and got under my skin.
She leads me through the maze of tables, not by the hand, but still connected. We move in sync. We could be sisters how our bodies mimic one another. Strangers would be surprised to discover it’s only been a month that we’ve known each other.
We push past the door into the bathroom and slip into the same stall. She had not told me why we’re here, yet I know. I know what she will do, and what I should do, despite never doing this together before. It works as if we have practiced. As if we have run this very scenario in this very place a hundred times before.
The quarters are deceptively close. It looked as if there would be more room from the outside. But ultimately it doesn’t matter, it will suit our particular needs.
She makes quick movements in her bag and returns her hand to sight holding a black zippered satchel. Small. Her movements are deft. This I know she has done many times. I can see it in the decisive way her fingers move. This is our first time together, my first time like this, but she is apparently well versed. She is an artist placed before her instrument, such care is taken but done so easily.
Before I can really consider much how quickly she’s ready and what it could truly mean, she’s already in the thick of it.
The white powder has been poured from a small plastic bag onto a travel mirror. I can see only an identical white mound and her lips in reflection. The razor blade that appears next squeaks slightly against the glass with her small chopping movements, and then again as she divides the substance into two matching lines. They are even, perfectly.
She rolls a bill, a one, into a tight tube. She holds it out to me and indicates the white line closest to me. I do not hesitate. One hand holds the makeshift straw, the other keeps my hair from making a scattered mess of her careful work.
As I bend, I see the other side of the mirror. The cover that protects it from dirt and damage, that keeps it clean for this strange activity. I catch the soft wave of a blue shawl. The gentle eyes of a loving woman. The glowing, flower encircled heart. The unmistakable hand gesture of this world renowned mother.
My eyes stay on her as I breathe in the sharp and powerful drug. I close them as I wait for it to take it’s hold and hear my Russian inhale her half, the image stuck firmly in my mind.