06 October 2016


It's June. She stands on her deck staring out at the Hollywood hills, freckled in orange stars
expanding into galaxies in the flatlands. Her mascara is perfect, though her eyes are wet. She fumbles with the cellophane on her Marlboros and then again trying to pull a cigarette from the box, lacking a true smoker's dexterity.

Some nights make you want to smoke, even if you've never really had the habit; even if you know the pack will sit in the bottom of your purse, crushed and smelling of coins and chewing gum, until the next bad night, the next night when you want to cry but don't want to give the world the satisfaction, even if no one's around to see you. 

The matches won't light and when they do, the snapping winds swallow the flame before she can hold it to her lipstick stained cigarette. Nothing is going right today, not even this attempt at something as simple as smoking. She can smell the acrid fruit smell of the neighbor's marijuana in the air and the irony isn't funny. It's frustrating. 

It's midnight. That means it's 3am back home. If she calls anyone, they'll pick up in a groggy panic. If she doesn't, she'll scroll through her phone all night until she falls asleep or gives up or, more likely, digs deep into self-pity that refuses to admit itself the occasionally necessary indulgence of self-pity and exhaust herself to sleep with anxiety and loneliness and missing.

The moon is a sliver, but even the north star is dimmer than any plane leaving Burbank or LAX. The night is nothing like it was when she was a girl; when her father told her stories about the seven sisters and Aphrodite and the hunter in the sky. 

She turns and looks at the gold statuettes and globes that glitter inside, housed casually around her cavernous marble and oak and glass cage and wonders what it is she's won in this place so high above the city; so far from the nearest star.

Written May, 2014. Hollywood, California.