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grey wall

By , Jackson, NJ

February 14th 1956. Valentine’s Day. I stepped into the lounge, the smell of tobacco and liquor calming my nerves. There she sat, tall and slim. Glossy jet black hair, and pouty lips just how I liked her. Bonnie. I have not seen her in years, not since high school in fact. Adjusting my tie, I walked over slowly, casually rubbing my sweaty palms against my dress pants.
“Bonnie Miller,” I uttered. “Ricky! Is that really you?” she bubbled. Throwing her arms over my shoulders excitedly, I was taken aback.
  “You clean up real nice, Bonnie.” I managed to choke out. “You’re not so bad yourself.” Bonnie teased.
“Can I buy you a drink?” I asked, half-confident. Jumping out of her seat eagerly, she grabbed my hand.
“I thought you’d never ask!” she exclaimed. I missed that about her, her spunk I mean. I walked her to the table in the corner nearby, that was directly underneath what looked like an oil painting of a cabaret scene. Is it the Moulin Rouge? I thought. Definitely cannot be a Picasso. Rembrandt? No. I stood there, pondering like an idiot until Bonnie spoke up.
“Ricky? You can sit down you know.” she squeaked.  Breaking away from my trance, I sat down awkwardly.
I looked at her, as she looked down at her menu. Her hair fell delicately in small curls that framed her softened cheekbones. Her lip slightly curled and she had nose, petite like a kitten’s.
“Oh I can’t decide,” she huffed, interrupting my admiration. “Why don’t you order for me? I need to go to the ladies room.” she beamed, stepping away from the table. I sighed with relief, seeing this as an opportunity to regroup. Quickly, I grabbed the nearest spoon that I saw and examined my reflection. Licking my palm, I brushed my hair back and dabbed my forehead with my handkerchief.
“Rough night?” a man piped up.
“You have no idea.” I replied.
“What can I get you?” he questioned.
“Help me out, I’m dying out here.” I pleaded.
“Don’t worry about a thing.” he rushed off.
Leaning back in my chair I took a deep breath, as Bonnie sauntered over.
“Alright back to business.” she started. “How have you kept busy all these years?” she buzzed, lighting a cigarette.
“I’ve been working as a museum curator down in Tulsa. You know, paintings and such.” I replied.
“Yes, I know.” she laughed. “Is that why you were so interested in this painting?” she questioned, pressing her lips against the filter.  Just as I was to respond the man returned with a flute of champagne and some gin with tonic. Bonnie reached for the glass with her delicate hand, holding it between the sponges of her dainty fingers. Gently, she sipped her drink, leaving her lips glossy with bubbles. Watching in amusement, I wiped the drool from my bottom lip, and reached for my glass.






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