PART ONE of Three
Rose stood naked underneath the glare of the bathroom light admiring her attenuated silhouette, her raven hair flowing from the nape of her neck down her spine. Underneath her unyielding exterior there was a brittleness. As she fastidiously applied her makeup she took notice of the incipient wrinkles forming underneath her lacquered eyelids. She was entering the second act of her life, and she was alone.
As she slowly slipped into her subtle black Versace dress, making sure not to wrinkle the expensive fabric, she felt a pang of sadness.
She put on her Jimmy Choo pumps and perfunctorily applied two sprays of Chanel number 5. She turned off the bathroom light and wandered across the apartment to the panoramic windows of her Manhattan abode. Cautiously peering out of the thirtieth story she could see the exuberance of couples and tourists rushing to their winter destinations. She walked back across the apartment making sure to grab her pea coat, and exited the apartment.
As she waited for the elevator, and when it came she felt rather odd as opposed to the usual rush of excitement and uncertainty that was usually present during an outing. The doorman awaited there as usual she stepped off and glided across the lobby. A woman in her mid 30’s but with the grace, presence, and innocence of a younger soul.
She could feel a rush hit her and as soon as she stepped into the brisk night air of the city however the feeling slowly deteriorated beneath the umbrage of the city lights.
As she waited for a passing taxi, fleeting thoughts of her days at NYU entered her mind. How she would give anything to have them back.
Consumed by mediocrity in suburbia, and a divorce at an early age, she had surreptitiously rendered herself an escape to the city where she had thrived. The city was the final destination many spending their entire lives to arrive. She had quickly climbed the corporate ranks at her marketing job, desiring the sensation of praise and acceptance she never received as a youth. She was well respected and admired for her tenacity and conciseness. One thing she had learned at an early age was that it was better to be terse then ambiguous.
Spotting her opportunity she slowly walked across the street making sure to avoid any puddles that had accumulated during the light snow fall the previous night.
Although she no felt the palpable ephemerality of existence she would lose herself in these solipsistic moments. The city was magical in its appearance, and feeling the impregnable towers that surrounded her gave her a sense of security a man never had.
She approached the taxi opening the back passenger door and got in.
35th and Broadway.
The taxi driver was a man in his late 50’s with a middle eastern accent. Probably with a wife and children he was supporting by spending countless nights away from them. Something his children would never come to appreciate until they had come of age, which was mostly the case in these situations. He drove silently but a peaceful aura surrounded him. As they continued to wind threw the crowded New York traffic she could not help but take note of the abundance of homeless people scavenging the streets. She always felt bad when she saw someone homeless, because everyone knows that although everyone has the power in life to accomplish what they desire, not everyone can do it without a support system. As the taxi driver approached the restaurant she felt a wave of darkness cascade over her as she opened her purse to pay for the ride. Leaving a generous tip she opened the door, and gracefully headed to the entrance of the posh restaurant in which her date awaited. She walked in. Almost instantaneously she felt the elitist burgeoise ambience its environment almost giving her a feeling of sickness.
Arthur she told the hostess.
Write this way.
Heading over to wear the handsome man was sitting she realized she barely recognized him. In fact when she agreed to the date at the social event she was quite tipsy when the investment banker had approached her from the bar in a fashionable Italian suit. She had been more agreeable due to his looks then his self-righteous arrogance that always seemed to wreak from business men of his stature. As she approached the table he got up giving her a light hug and kiss on the cheek.
How are you? It’s wonderful to see you again.
He pulled the seat out for her and she sat down slowly. Feathering her dress to make sure it was not wrinkled she took a sip of the wine that was in front of her.
I’m glad you agreed to come he said. You know I was very attracted to you when I saw you.
Was is that? Or was I the only woman at the bar by herself.
No of course not he smiled wryly.
The smile almost made her feel sick to her stomach. At that moment she hated the fact she had agreed to come on this date. She had nothing in common with the opposing party as well as the fact that his initial pompous confidence was beginning to upset her. Now she had no choice but to sit at dinner for two hours listening to him talk about bullshit while in the end he tried to connive her to go home with him. Disgusting.
You know I’m sort of celebrating today he boasted.
Why is that she said with a polite smile.
It was a good day on the market.
His impertinent braggadocio made Rose feel uneasy.
O that’s wonderful brushing it off.
He had already began to talk about himself. His narcissism was becoming so apparent and what she kept asking herself was why she agreed to go out with these people. It was who she was surrounded by due to her own success as a fashion marketer but yet these were not the type of people she wanted to be with. The unsubtle nuances of the men in her life the last five years had led her to completely give up dating. Almost coming to the conclusion that she would die alone and old rather then give her life to one of these clowns. He continued to talk barely stopping for a breath. She gave him the occasional nod and smile but remained absentminded praying that it would end. It was almost a relief when the waiter came ten minutes later so they could order.
What are you getting? Should we start with an appetizer?
I rather not she said. Rather coldly but unintentionally.
Ok well I am getting the salmon.
And you madam?
I think I’ll go with the veil. Medium rare. Thank you. She handed the menu to the waitress. The waitress was gorgeous in her low 20’s. I bet he would leave me in a second to fuck her in the bathroom she thought cynically. Knowing from past experience her relationship experience had been far from a monogamous one. In fact there were two things that she could not remember. One when she had ever had a monogamous relationship or thought the man she was with wasn’t cheating and second when she had gotten a good hard fuck. As she thought about the second she began to think it had been around five years at least. Almost embarrassing. There was still no way that she was going to let the despicable creature across from her touch her even if she was horny. He doesn’t deserve it.
So I know what you do but specifically what area of marketing are you in? He asked the materialistic surface level questions that were only asked in politeness rather than interest.
Fashion marketing she responded.
Do you like what you do?
I don’t know sometimes do you?
I mean I like making money he laughed at himself. She smiled out of courtesy.
Great so what elese do you do he asked.
I don’t know watch movies, paint, go to the gym.
Interesting. My mom used to paint.
What kind of paintings?
I don’t know I guess flowers and things like that.
Wow she thought. He hated him even more thinking that his mother could not even love someone like this. So inconsiderate and arrogant.
She knew that her internal hatred and disgust had more to do with her personal issues and experiences than the man that was sitting across from her. He was a robot manifested by society’s materialistic nature. She could not be mad at him she finally concluded, but the underlying feeling of repulsion continued to creep into her stomach as he continued his conversation about investment banking and finance. She was not one to judge however considering her occupational position as well.
As she put her hand on the table she couldn’t help but notice the slow reach he made to lightly position his hand on top of hers. Although she let him do this every moment she was being touched him she hated him more. Finally after a minute when she could not take it anymore she pulled back, reaching for the bottle of wine in the center of the table.
So have you eaten here before he asked generically.
Well the food’s great. I take my clients here sometimes for lunch.
Great she thought now he was saying she was like a client. She put back the glass of wine quickly pouring another realizing the bottle was now empty.
It’s fine. I’ll order another. He ushered over the waitress, indicating for another bottle of the 1987 Marlow.
It’s great wine isn’t it.
Yes. That’s the only great thing about this date she thought.
Almost instantaneously a new bottle appeared. As the waitress uncorked the wine she couldn’t help but notice once again the beauty of her youth. Almost the innocent in her eyes that reflected her own personal image when she was younger. Jealousy seemed to consumer her for a slight instance, but then left like a quick breeze. The world in front of her, and she did not know it yet.
She did not want to be alone anymore but did not know how to go about approaching a relationship. She was wary and tired from the last fifteen years of up and downs as well as thankful for much of the wisdom she had gained. She knew that she would rather be alone and unhappy then with someone else and both be unhappy. Friends had come and go in her life mostly go, and the fact that she did not even have one sibling further increased her sense of solitude and introversion.
The man across the table considered his egocentric mannerisms and continued to talk completely ignorant of the fact that she was even present. Almost like talking to himself in a mirror completely unaware of the feelings she held towards him. The food finally arrived. She was not hungry but knew it was not courteous in order for her to leave her plate unattended. So she slowly grabbed the dinner knife and fork and cut a small piece of veil gracefully sliding it into her mouth making sure to chew slowly.
How is it he asked. As if he had been waiting for her to confirm the delicacy to boost his ego further.
Just alright he said.
Ya just alright. But it’s good.
Do you want me to tell them to bring another plate?
No. It’s really fine.
I don’t want you to eat something you don’t want to eat. This restaurant is amazing. He bragged again.
No. I said it was fine. Please don’t push.
He picked up his fork and knife as well and began to eat the salmon he had ordered. Damn I wish I had ordered what he had gotten she thought. It didn’t matter. She continued to work her way through her meal pausing momentarily to grab a sip of her wine. Feeling herself becoming more intoxicated as dinner went on. She knew that she would have to get drunk tonight in order to forget about her mistake. Secretly wishing she had stayed at home to watch an Almodovar film rather than have to entertain this man without a personality. Her ambivalence towards him grew as they continued a meal in silence. Finally, possibly picking up on the vibe that she was entirely not interested in him. After a few moments he had to speak to break the silence. Possibly regretting the fact he had even agreed to go on this date with her.
What do you think about me so far? You seem very reserved.
No your fine she said. I’m just tired. I had a long day at work.
Ok I understand. It’s just that you haven’t talked much or anything and I’ve tried to make conversation with you. Is it me? You can be honest?
No it’s not you at all she lied. Like I said I’m just exhausted from work and its been extremely busy recently.
Would you like to see me again after this? He asked.
She knew what she wanted to say but did not have the heart to say it, and break his arrogant spirit. Although there would be nothing more satisfying then to see him revel in his egocentrism and narcissism.
Yes but I’m very busy recently like I said. So let me tell you when I am available. Hopefully I can be a better date.
No it’s not that he said. I was just curious because you had appeared absentminded throughout the entire dinner. Was just curious.
Ok well now you know.
He continued to eat thinking that he would see her again and it was her not him. He could not wait to see him in the future and the wife who would divorce him for half of the wealth he prized so preciously. Life always had a way of coming back at you and taking what you held the most valuable. That’s why she admired the Budhists so reverently but knew she never had the courage to give up her material possessions. At least not yet. Hopefully one day she would be able to find the strength to be able to find her inner peace. Although her yoga class every Sunday was relaxing, it was almost the only time she felt at peace ever. Almost constantly bombarded by the pressures of work and the small intricacies which clouded her vision from the most important things.