Jessica B.

Jessica B.

A Story by Christopher Norton
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Beauty and frailty wrapped up in a sweet, long gone night.

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     The streetlight outside the bay window cast it’s garish, orange glow onto her ivory skin. Painted in colors like a Rembrandt. She looked so small, ever shrinking into the shadows of the bed nook. We sat on the roll out Murphy bed and the silence felt not at all uncomfortable. I wondered how she had ended up here. She was beautiful beyond description and from the moment I first saw her, I had known that there were no words, no clever line that could ever make her take notice of someone like me. Yet, here she was.

     She always brought me boneless bbq spare ribs from the Chinese place around the corner. She would show up at one or two AM and sometimes we would talk or listen to my Velvet Underground records. She would put her arms around me in the darkness and looking back, maybe she expected me to poof out of existence as much as I expected the same. A lot about those days is forgotten or blocked out willfully. I don’t think I imagined her. I’m sure of it as, we now chat on a semi-regular basis. 

     I’m definitely the type to kiss and tell but there is not a lot to tell. What I remember most is the shocking peek behind the mask of an idol at someone more kind, more vulnerable, more human than almost anyone I’ve ever known. I don’t remember any luridness to our association. She was sweet and very much a lady. If I could use a single word to describe her, it would be: haunted. How could someone so beautiful, so composed and confident, hide such a deep well of sadness. I think maybe she was a victim of her beauty, a prisoner of what the world saw when they looked at her. Either as some lustful goddess or some unapproachable b***h. Neither of these were true. 

    The first time I saw her was outside the bodega where Central, Washington and Lark come together. It was the first or second day of Tulip fest, which made it early May. A couple doors down from Mamoun’s Falafel. She walked out onto the street in a red dress and her horn-rimmed glasses. It should be noted that she has great taste in eyewear. Her ever-present companion, Simon McGowan, a Jack Russell terrier by her side. I think I mumbled out a clumsy “hello” in passing but I doubt that she noticed. Other events were in motion that would push our passing to the back of my mind. 

      Time passed and as I became entangled with a series of s***s, drugs and criminal type folks. I quickly fell in over my head and before I knew it, I was being used to mule and sell heroine. My situation was frightening and hopeless. But A random delivery found me at the basement door of a brownstone on Lark Street one summer afternoon and the girl who answered the door was instantly familiar and I was punched in the gut when I realized that I was here to feed her monkey. I had no idea. I just knew that if I handed her the little blue packages that I was committing some mortal sin; that feeding this poison to one of god’s most rare and unique creatures was some violation of cosmic proportions. 


       “Fifty bucks” I told her and she asked me in while she retrieved the money from a tiny, smart-looking, white and black-trimmed clutch. I handed her two little stamped waxen envelopes. Somehow we ended up talking while she pushed off. Maybe it was about her records. I don’t remember. I was in a kind of shell shock at the unexpected meeting, the guilt of being involved in poisoning this girl with the dirt and just plain school boy awe.

     She had a unique way of booting up. I still cannot figure out how she managed but she would find a spot between the toes. “So I don’t leave tracks.” she told me. I still find it fascinating in my depraved way of seeing things. She could have been peeing on a cactus and I would have been just as enamored. So she did her thing and we talked for maybe a few minutes and I went on my way. 

     So how did she end up here? I honestly don’t recall. By this point, we had talked and hung out a few times. Enough to know the basics about each other. I knew she worked as a dancer. Good pay while you’re going to college or feeding the shrieking little freak that clings tenaciously to your back. I had come to know her as the exact opposite of how I imagined her. She was approachable, intelligent, generous. Perfect. Whatever she had to do to make it through the day, did not concern me. It wasn’t who she was. She had great taste in music, loved Chinese food and she talked to me. REALLY talked. No one had ever been, that open or honest with me. With all the crazy s**t going on around me, she as an island in a deadly, swelling sea.

     People have… I had these misconceptions about dancers. That they drove fast cars and only dated equally hot guys. That life was a never ending cyclone of champagne and coke. The girl I knew was not this caricature. Nothing so banal or simple could describe the person behind the image of worldly perfection she was clad in. We would talk about literature or the hidden messages contained in Beatles music. Finally, I had to know. Why me? What had I done to deserve the attention of someone that any guy would kill his mother to spend an afternoon with? Her reply made sense but it would be years before I could really grasp it.

    “Why do you bother with me?”

     “Because when you look at me you see Jessica. To everyone else, I’m just Eve.” She looked away. 

     In that downturned glance, I finally realized that the beauty and sadness and honesty contained in this one soul was a well too deep to imagine. We passed the rest of the night in silence. What can you say when someone tells you a truth of that magnitude? But as always, not an uncomfortable silence. 


© 2014 Christopher Norton



Author's Note

Christopher Norton
I write about brief moments in time.

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Featured Review

let me just quote this coz this was absolutely beautiful
"I think maybe she was a victim of her beauty, a prisoner of what the world saw when they looked at her."
Your choice of words and how you blend them to create evoking sentences and imagery were really superb - although a few misplaced/missing punctuation marks were quite a buzz kill. But overall, great work!

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Its raw and straight to the facts...
all roads do lead to Rome in this story line...
its what you do not see is what is ---
the real person behind the physical beauty...
seems your path and hers was destine to happen...
in the odd manner that it did...
you got to reveal the person for who she was...
and get to know what makes her tick ---
from the inside --- out...

Posted 3 Years Ago


I loved this..'never judge a book by its cover' comes to mind..reminds me of a poem I once wrote...this was really touching...beautifully done...also sad..an excellent read!! :) x

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christopher Norton

3 Years Ago

It;s encouraging to have people like my silly stories. They are treasures to me. A brief look into a.. read more
Thank you for reading. I'll fix the punctuation



Posted 3 Years Ago


let me just quote this coz this was absolutely beautiful
"I think maybe she was a victim of her beauty, a prisoner of what the world saw when they looked at her."
Your choice of words and how you blend them to create evoking sentences and imagery were really superb - although a few misplaced/missing punctuation marks were quite a buzz kill. But overall, great work!

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on March 4, 2014
Last Updated on March 4, 2014
Tags: love, beauty, romance

Author

Christopher Norton
Christopher Norton

S. Glens Falls, NY



About
Subtlety is not my style. How can I describe myself without sounding self-indulgent? I could say something dark and clever but the truth is, I'm an uneducated, high school dropout who has never don.. more..

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