30 Seconds with Puffery

(by puffery@prodigy.com (now quin_chris@hotmail.com), 15 August 1998)

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From Puffery@prodigy.com Sat Aug 15 00:34 EDT 1998
Date: Sat, 15 Aug 1998 00:31:01, -0500
Subject: Thirty Seconds from Puffery
Status: RO

Midway across the street she catches my eye.  Tall, but not too tall. 
 Perhaps five eight discounting the business height heels that so 
tastefully match her impeccably tailored hunter green St. John's knit.
  Breathtaking from a distance.  Vargas vision in Vogue couture.  And 
all this from an angle yet too obtuse to realize the presumed beauty 
of her face.  But my instincts are good.  

My purposeful stride at once morphs to stroll.  And all the world 
obligingly complies.   Manhattan's 78 cacophony, a new found mellow 
33.  Her hair, blonded by the sun, teasing without touching her left 
shoulder - the shoulder which impedes the view that I now so dearly 
crave.  Her head cocks down, her arms in gentle motion sway.  To the 
unobservant the activity in which she's engaging would be anything 
but apparent.  But my instincts are very good.  

A foot now upon the curb, I come nearly to a stop.  A mere dozen feet 
away upon the adjacent curb, it's imperative that I allow her to 
remain some few steps ahead.  And as the red light relinquishes unto 
green, another light mystically appears.  Her coquettish left hand 
now in sight, as if itself a sorcerer's alluring candle, combusts 
with a hot and brilliant glow.  And just beyond her still turned 
cheek, the flame arrests in restive anticipation.   Oh yes, my 
instincts are so very good.  

And ever trading line-of-sight for anonymity, vision commands an army 
of sensations from within.  For that promised union is to be - the 
hard white tip of a now exposed cigarette for instant consummation 
with the light.  And craning even further finds its source - a golden 
filter 100 cradled within two lips of lusty crimson passion.  
Military in its posture yet so tenderly embraced - locked in place by 
lips of reverent love.  

The meeting of the two shuns all coyness and suddenly the chemistry 
explodes.  Unwaveringly the cigarette emblazons, with pulling cheeks 
the only motion perceptible.  With lungs now awash with swirling 
smoke, the combustive tip of the erect cylinder begins to cool - and 
now gives birth to a trace of smoldering ash.  And with her suction 
now relaxed, the first waft of smoke's allowed to escape from that 
graying tip.  Smartly recapturing the cigarette with her right hand, 
the ritual completes as she drops that likely Marlboro 100 limp wrist 
to her side - the side that I still struggle hard to see.

Her little task complete and now realizing that the light is in her 
favor, she sets out in pristine elegance across the street.  In quiet 
awe I follow, at three paces but certainly no more.  By the third 
step her exhale begins with such panache that even Annette Benning 
might take note.  A gentle stream of smoke pours forth first greeted 
by the summer breeze then twisted in delightful geometries around her 
right cheek in transit to eventual dissipation.  

Her pace too quick, the crossing too brief.  A second drag and then a 
third.  The exhales come from Bogart films and maybe she as well.  
She is my lumen and I have no momentary existence but in her penumbra.
  And now we've reached the other side and the overhang of the Grand 
Central taxi stand is already overhead.  The final act is here before 
the rising curtain's even come to rest.

Embolden now I move in parallel.  I watch a fourth exhale as mighty 
as their brethren.  And now she pauses near the door and turns 
squarely in my view.  Mesmerized I watch as she fills her vessel to 
the brim.  One open mouth inhale upon another, she triples up before 
her imposing release.  The jet stream should be so lucky as to have 
such a progenitor.  And one final time the theatrics are replayed 
with results no less moving than before.  Then with a flourish, the 
yet barely half spent cigarette is thrust upon the ground and crushed 
quickly cold beneath those pretty pumps - now headed for a "nowhere 
train for nobody".
She turns, a look of sublime satisfaction having encompassed her 
whole being.  One can only imagine the precise details of her 
particular story but certain universals lay unchallenged.  In these 
first moments of this noon hour her badly nicotine depleted system 
has been replenished for the first time in several hours.  No 
clerical she, making hourly pilgrimages to the demeaning steps and 
doorways; rather a professional who's been intensely engaged in some 
endeavor this special morning.  And as absence does as absence does, 
this cigarette was not simply habit - it was craving, it was reward, 
it was pleasure - it was fonder.  Fonder for the both of us.  Thank 
you hunter green.  Bless you instincts.

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