Bing’s Palace~ 1963

The men nodded as Roy and Rummy approached, extended their hands, one by one, shook. Rummy leaned in to peck a kiss upon Birdie’s rouged cheek. Roy did likewise. He felt Birdie’s body still, sensed her linger.

“Who’s the little lady?” The boss met Rummy’s glance and demanded an answer.

Before Rummy could speak, Birdie hopped up and took Annie’s hand. “Slide over, Jimmy. Let this dear doll sit next to me.” Her eyes flashed a warning to the boss.

Roy watched as Annie slid onto the seat beside Birdie, fixated on her newfound friend. Birdie waved a manicured hand to signal a waiter. The young man snapped to attention at her side. “Shirley Temple for the little lady, pink umbrella, cherry on top.” She winked at Annie. “That okay, hon?”

Annie nodded and looked down at the tablecloth.

“Thought so. Auntie Birdie knows what the little ladies like.” She smoothed the top of Annie’s head. Turning to face the boss she murmured, “Now you boys get down to business, let us ladies be.”

~ a draft scene from the book I’ll always write

When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him. He has a million reasons for being anywhere, just ask him. If you listen, he’ll tell you how he got there. How he forgot where he was going, and that he woke up. If you listen, he’ll tell you about the time he thought he was an angel or dreamt of being perfect. And then he’ll smile with wisdom, content that he realized the world isn’t perfect. We’re flawed, because we want so much more. We’re ruined, because we get these things, and wish for what we had. ~ Don Draper

The Dream

I had a dream.

We are in your car, a fixed up TR-6, taken from your brother. The radio retro blasts a Jim Morrison high. You steer south toward the I-5. A ribbon of trees line the hillside.  Blood red mingles with atomic tangerine.

I glance left, note how the sun casts light across your face. My finger traces the map of your jaw. You are delicious; I am enchanted.

Camped out beneath starry skies we share stories of who we will become. You are moving up; I am moving on. Wrapped within your arms I feel an unfamiliar touch of forever.

Hoar frost blanketed our tangled bones. Winter winds ripped us open.  Upon spring’s return, we awoke-  as if from a tale, frozen to a past.

I never told you: I loved our fleeting moments.

Eleanor

Eleanor At The Bar

Wide eyes drew me in. Eyes the colour of sea glass and molten gold set down by a painter’s touch. I coveted her story, listened within silence.

I studied her eyes, eyes that appeared to see beyond the realm of ordinary, sensed her bewilderment. A glance as if asking: why is it that  others can’t see how light casts shadow, how waves kiss the shore, how a smile deceives?

Lips, slightly pursed, held tangled secrets, if only she dared speak. Her side swept hair, a mix of caramel and honey, suggested an elegant yet strong ancestral line. Scandinavian vigour lingered like a shield to cover fine bones.

Eleanor. Salvaged from a Vancouver vintage shop. This is her given name, penciled to the back of a plywood board. Painted in oil, she remains bespoke for all time.

I brought her home.

“I am intrigued by the smile upon your face, and the sadness within your eyes”
Jeremy Aldana