The Glass

I could hear the radio playing songs in the kitchen. She turned it up when she came in, it was one of her favorite songs. She was messing about in there for awhile, making a drink to cool the afternoon off. The clink of the ice going into the glass was unmistakable. I even knew what glass she was using, the tall one. She liked it because of the sound the ice made as she tilted it back and forth, she would swirl the cubes of ice around the bottom until they freed themselves and slid down the thin glass walls into her mouth where she chomped them gleefully for all the world to hear.

She must have been on her third drink when I got up and moseyed into the kitchen for a refreshment of my own. Standing there by the open freezer she melted an ice cube  up and down her throat with her head leaned back.  Eyes closed she rolled her head forward and pushed the ice around to the back of her neck then stopped momentarily to massage the ice in circles until it melted in her hand.  Tilting her head a little as if to listen for a bird singing in the distance, she cracked her eyelids a smidge like she had just woken up, still rubbing her hand in small circles on the back of her neck.

Peering over at me she turned and walked to the sink, picked up a glass and rinsed it halfheartedly, shaking out the remaining drops of water in the direction of the plants in the window. Pausing briefly she walked back to the freezer. Rustling through the ice she filled the glasses unceremoniously and chunked them down on the table.  The bottle was still sweating from the thick Carolina air on a humid summer afternoon as she sat down next to the radio and proceeded to twist off the cap.  Filling the glasses she perked her head up and met my eyes with a look as if waiting for me to say ‘when’. I kept her gaze as the whiskey splashed into the glass ’til it was nearly full, then lazily slumped across the table to paw at her pack of cigarettes.

Pulling a single volunteer from the open box I leaned back and slid the ashtray closer to the middle of both the two of us.  Her glass was a touch too full for the perfect ratio she had grown accustomed to, so she picked it up and took a long slow sip to get it just right.  Reaching into the fridge, balancing her chair expertly like a cirque du soleil performer she produced half a lemon and the pitcher of tea.  I struck a match and tossed the box on the table towards her pack of Camel Lights.

Inhaling with the depth and strength of a long overdue yawn I brought the match up to the tip of the Camel.  You could hear the flame pulled into the cigarette, cracking and sizzling as the tobacco ignited.  She filled the glasses the rest of the way with tea and squeezed the lemon over the top dipping it into the glasses to stir the concoction and sweeten the rim.  We sat there sippin’ our “tea”, listening to the radio and smoking cigarettes ’til the pack was gone.

I got up to get some more smokes and start another round.  As I was returning to the table she started fidgeting with the tuner on the radio and lo’ and behold she found a nice little station fighting static near the end of the dial. It was broadcasting from a small town not too far from where we lived and  Billie Holiday was weeping out a soft tune when I realized the evening was setting in and a cool breeze was blowing the curtains gently out the window.  Carrying a cigarette in her fingers she floated over to the window and leaned over the sink to get a better look at the summer sky, sighed and returned to the table sluggishly. Sitting down she took a deep draw from her smoke, held it straight up in front of her face and examined it before she reached for the ashtray and poked it around until it was nothing more than the filter.

Looking at me she lifted her drink to her lips and turned it up slowly to savor the last it had to offer.  Setting it back on the table she moved her gaze from me to the glass, then placed her hand on the table and formed a loose fist with her index finger pointing out towards the glass.  She slowly inched her hand across the table until the tip of her finger was touching the glass.  She poked it once, it bounced as if somebody bumped the table.  She did it again and it lurched forward a half an inch bobbling back and forth finally settling. She poked it one more time and it danced briefly rolling front to side to back to side, round and around.  As it stopped she looked up at me and started to extend her arm pushing the glass across the wooden table. Returning her eyes to the glass she fully extended her arm and pushed it off the table, crashing to the floor, shattering into a million shards, scattering themselves across the kitchen floor. Eyes raising, she  popped her eyebrows a bit and tilted her head to the side shrugging her shoulders as if to say “how ’bout that?” Leaning back she put her feet on the table crossed at the ankles and lit another cigarette triumphantly and proud.


40 thoughts on “The Glass

  1. I love the description in your stories! I can imagine her even though I don’t know what she looks like. I can see the glasses, the ice, the smoke. I can feel the tension between them, and I can almost touch his awe–of her, of her movements, of who she is and how she thinks. I love this one!

  2. Thank you.. 🙂 It’s hard to get it on the page so it reads like I see it in my head. I wish I had a USB port on my head so I could just download it in video without leaving something out. But somethings have to get sacrificed for the greater story….. like, what was she wearing? What did the sky look like? What was the time period?….. I guess you have your own picture for that now. :)…

  3. That’s sometimes the best part about reading though–being able to let your own mind fill in the blanks. That’s why I like poetry–because the reader makes his own understanding. Who cares what the author was trying to get across as long as you find your own meaning from the words. I really enjoy talking to you, by the way, and I look forward to your posts and comments. 🙂

  4. somehow, with all that was going on, I can hear the silence… but not really depressing because at the midst of everything, the glass made such comforting sound… and there’s the music too… but yeah, the silence still deafening..

  5. I want to know more – you’ve left lots of questions in my head. Why is she so defiant? Who is she in relation to the narrator? What is her back story? Some great sadness seems to linger there.

  6. You know that orange hue that seems to hang in the air at dusk on those rare nostalgic evenings in the summer? Imagine that creeping in through the windows and filling the room, coupled with the soft bitter sound of Billie Holiday reverberating under the silence. The smell of cut grass carried in from a distance on a gentle breeze.

  7. You know I like this kind of writing. Lots of description, details, and who knows if anything is really going to happen, and if so, what does it mean? Is it significant? No dialogue in all that time and still you’re able to convey so much. Amazing! Glad I found this piece of yours at “the party” because I couldn’t find it on your blog site.

  8. This took me back to when I used to smoke. I felt like I was the girl, lighting her cigarette. This was an evocative story that I could connect with on so many levels. Thank you for directing me here

  9. Yes. This. All of this. But especially:

    she lifted her drink to her lips and turned it up slowly to savor the last it had to offer . . . Leaning back she put her feet on the table crossed at the ankles and lit another cigarette triumphantly and proud.

    Haunting, triumphant, romantic, wistful, beautiful.

    My last drink was with Nina Simone to Wild is the Wind.

    Like the Lady of Shalott, (Tennyson), I grew half-sick of shadows.

    And down the river’s dim expanse
    Like some bold seer in a trance,
    Seeing all his own mischance
    With glassy countenance
    Did she look to Camelot.
    And at the closing of the day
    She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
    The broad stream bore her far away,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    ~ christy

  10. What a beautiful piece of writing. Completely mesmerizing and engaging. I’ve read it twice and can hear the clink of the ice, the scent of the cigarette and what she looks like with water trickling down her neck. I can feel/see the whole scene like it happened in my kitchen with me watching from the hallway. Crazy good! Now….off to read more 🙂

  11. Thank you, this is actually a “sticky” post, I wrote it this past summer, it’s one of my first ones I ever posted. If you care, the one I posted today is right behind it. It’s called ‘ol Crook Tail. It’s nothing much, just a little story I like to revisit every now and then.

  12. I’m amazed at how evocative your words always are. Tell me, have you always written such wonderful prose or did your time spent in hospital alter your thought processes? I have heard of people being able to play an instrument or be able to speak another language after a head trauma . Whatever the answer , please keep writing. Thank you.

  13. You know it’s hard to say, seeming I never wrote much before. Not that I write much now. I think maybe I learned how to tell a good story to people whilst I served them drinks. Seems like that might be a requisite somehow, or should be at least.

  14. I did wonder because I haven’t received many of your blogs recently. I thought you had cut me off because of all the drivel I write and also I had food poisoning which stopped me in my literary tracks for several weeks. Do you hear many stories like the bartenders do in the films? I wish I could convey emotions as well as you do. Perhaps it’s my age!

  15. Oh, I’m sorry to hear, hope you are feeling better. And I think you convey very well, no drivel there. I just kinda stopped coming on a few months back when someone stumbled into my blog and broke my anonymity. It was my own fault, I left it open on one of my devices. So I went to the trouble of a new email to support my blog and what not.

  16. Seductive. That’s what comes to mind when I read this. Not just the scene evolving, and the relationship within, but the writing is like gentle fingers slowly whispering along my spine. I really love this. It’s like that pivotal scene in a movie, where not a lot happens but everything happens. Very well done. Cheers!

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