When I Met the Woman Who Was Wearing the Night Before — by Brooke Taylor Aganovich

    ‘Hairport Lounge’. That's what the sign says, ‘Hairport Lounge’. The red letters on the poster entice, ‘Meet your loved ones with a new cut for only 14.99’. I don't know when my flight is but as long as this plastic bag is around my neck I don't need to worry. I keep taking it off. It makes me public property. Every time one of the pencil ladies walks past with those scarves that no one wears outside an airport, they clickety-click over to me and pick up the plastic envelope from the seat where I've put it and place it back around my neck tut-tutting, then they look at the card and look at their watch, as though taking my pulse, and move along. It says ‘Unaccompanied Minor’ on the plastic and the edge of the strap cuts into my neck. I don't want everyone knowing I'm an unaccompanied minor. The other children with their parents look at me as though I'm deformed. The free coloured crayons that come with the pack break when I try and draw.
    I take out a book I stole from my aunt, an airport book, an airport lounge book, but it's a seventies airport lounge book, an Asian invasion intrigue book, full of words like ‘ninja’, ‘shuriken’ and ‘gaijin’, not a nineties cyberpunk intrigue book. If I put the book on its back I can see where all the good bits are. It saves time. Page 32, Agent Takashi gives General Onegin a blow job at his villa in the Crimea to get secrets about the new nuclear airplane. She knows what she's doing, she's been trained. Because apparently when men are having sex they can't help talking about work, particularly the things they're not meant to talk about. So General Onegin mumbles a lot of secret codes while he's holding Agent Takashi's ears, along with the name of his ex-wife. I can feel my knob go stiff. But that all changes when I suddenly think of my aunt.

    Her house is like a museum, a homage to the seventies. Nothing has changed in there since her last husband died in 1978. Even her clothes and her dark glasses are the same. The glasses are worth seeing; these huge Pierre Cardin purple things with lenses the size and shape of television screens. Every time I'm sent to stay with her she gives me this cunning, in-the-know, smile and says “you know Isak I don't worry because the way fashion works these days I'm due to be very hip again anytime soon.” It's her lawyer that told her this, her only friend, but even he's on a payroll. I never say anything  but with an ass that could plug the hole in the ozone layer and a nose gone red from too much Lambrusco she shouldn't hold her breath. The only thing hip about her is her record collection and that only because she bought them when she was still capable of love, before her first husband fell off a speed boat in Hong Kong harbour and drowned. I'm allowed to look at them but not to touch which is sort of silly since I've been stealing them in two's and three's for several years now; first edition Rolling Stones and Hendrix. She says all that music is too loud and jumpy. There's writing on every record cover; ‘Can't wait to listen to this with you...’, ‘For ever baby...’, ‘Check this out, I cried and thought of you…’. All I'm allowed to play is Sade, Phil Collins and Julio Iglesias and really low too.
    She lives in un-musical world, and that's why she doesn't like me. I move like the notes of a sitar. There is a slight panic in her eyes when she watches me move around the apartment which I wouldn't call a home. It's more like a pyramid where everything has been displayed in preparation for the afterlife. If our civilisation was suddenly hiroshima'd and her apartment was preserved, by fallout future civilisations would think we embalmed our dead in tie-dye silk with lava lamps and lots of curved white furniture, “for traversing the heavens”;
    “—and the great big purple square eye lenses, professor?”
    “No doubt in anticipation of seeing the Divine Light, the Celestial Bodies....”

    And so she's careful when I'm there. As if, in each of my movements, sound has already broken everything. The phrase “don't touch that Isak” hangs from her lips like a nicotine tattoo ready to fall off at any moment. I don't blame her because once I apparently did try and break everything. It's one of those family stories that I was too young to remember. Left alone in the apartment for a few minutes I got bored, so the story goes, and took an American football out of the closet and started to kick it all over the place like I was a two legged flipper on a pinball machine. I couldn't have broken that much because the place is still stuffed, unless as Plato insists, everything in this world is a copy taken from the ideal, and my aunt, bless her discretion, has a catalog of the infinite from which she can order replacements. But anyway, the story goes that when they found me I was hysterical, just laughing all crazy like and scoring field goals all over the place. The doctor was called and they gave me a shot.
    So I suppose she has some reason to be nervous, especially since, knowing I like music she must find it curious that I will often not bother playing the music she likes. I prefer to attend the music of silence than confirm the world with Phil Collins. Wouldn't you, in a house where the sofa has a plastic cover on it? “Easier to clean,” she says. But when you sit on it it makes this terrible crunching sound. I don't think my aunt hears it though it scares the hell out of me. I can't help it, I always think of a dancing skeleton, the crunchiness being the sound his bones make when they touch.


Proposed by Dandyakuza on Thursday 20 May 2010 at 01:08 PM

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