I know that face. I don’t remember how or why, but I just do. I’m in the The Armadillo right now, a hole in the wall bar downtown that everyone has discovered. I’m sitting at the far right hand corner of the bar next to some putz who’s been gabbing to me for the past hour and a half about his retirement plan. He thinks this will turn me on somehow. I’ve ordered about four drinks now hoping that he’ll catch on that this isn’t the kind of conversation that a sober person would want to partake in. I’m kind enough to keep myself physically present in this engagement, but I let my mind and eyes wander elsewhere.
There are two wall-sized mirrors in The Armadillo that are parallel to each other; one is on the side of the bar, one is on the side of the corridor that leads to the street. It’s a very spacious room. I look at the bar wall, surveying the room for eye candy or a sign of someone that can keep me entertained for a little bit. I see the same beatniks and self-loathing bougies who frequent this joint like it’s Burroughs’ grave or something of the sort. All of a sudden, something gets me. It’s this face. I can only see the left side of it. She’s far away; I can barely make out her complexion. Her brown hair is beginning to grey; wrinkles are slowly wrapping around the side of her face like a spider web. Her emerald dress is only for special occasions, but it is very worn-out. The allure of its velvet material was lost when kids start calling dresses like these trendy. Her arms are very tense, holding herself down; if she moves them up or lets them loose, she will fall to the ground. I can’t stop thinking of where I know her from! She just has one of those faces. I’m looking and looking at her, and then I start to try to analyze her. Like this’ll help me somehow. She’s sad, lonely; she’s just a reflection of somebody that she used to be. This makes me feel moody and sad. I want to get a batter look at her because maybe I really can help her.
I rudely interrupt my suitor’s spiel about the decline of institutionalism to say that I must be on my way. I fully enter the room looking around, but she’s gone. A panic rushes through me as if a mother has lost her newborn child. I walk to the center of the room, bleakly lightened, and survey the decay. I do a full turn and find myself looking right into the bar mirror. I see my reflection. More importantly, though, I see what’s beyond my reflection. The back of her head. She’s behind me. I swiftly turn myself around and look into the bar mirror to find that she has once again found a way behind me. I tell myself that I could play this game all day, so I end this nonsense. I walk out of the bar and return home.
Spencer Collantes ’17