I’m not sure just who Sula is yet, but she has decided to make an appearance a second time now, after this post.
Sula looked down from her fifth storey balcony at the silver-webbed ripples making their steady way across the body of the swimming pool in the cool air of the morning, and exhaled. She had not smoked in so long the back of her throat burned a little every time she drew in, but she wanted to get back to her old ways.
Wild ways involving boys, men, dances all night, very little food and water, a lot of drugs and booze, migraines, dark lipstick, red-streaked hair, hangovers, piercings, fast cars, wind in her face. She wanted back those who-gives-a-shit-about-anything kind of days.
As Sula coughed and took another drag, she realized that she was no longer alone in the early tropical morning, the pool now rippled from the middle outwards. A tall man swam free-style in easy long strokes, and though he had swim-goggles on, he seemed to look up at her every time he passed her balcony. Colored tattoos floated on his back as he swam. Though all she could see were blobs, she imagined a dragon, its tail flicked to the left shoulder blade and two ships below each shoulder, forever sailing in a beige sea, their sails buffeted by high winds, sailing away from each other yet remaining the same distance apart.
She drank in the smoke and swallowed, never blowing out, a trick she had learnt decades ago, in her teens. She looked around to see if anyone else could see her, but no, the balcony in the new home she had moved into faced a green hill, and was not visible to the neighbors. No children or nannies in the playing area beyond the pool. No guards walking out to patrol the condominium, no laborers coming in to work on renovations. A myna warbled from somewhere within the foliage on the hill, and far out on the main road a few cars plied to and fro, making her think of the big city she had left behind.
As she leaned on the cold metal of the balcony railing, she thought she met the man’s eyes as he looked up mid-stroke from inside his swim-goggles. She wore no bra, having just woken from sleep, and it would be easy to lower the strap of her spaghetti, and flash a milk-white breast when the man looked up next. She could then hook her finger and ask him up, go back in and wait.
Her finger burnt and the tiny butt whirled down and fell on the pavement beside the swimming pool. She had let it burn too long. From inside her apartment, a small boy’s voice wailed, “Mommy, poo-poo, Mommy, Papa says hurry!” She ran inside, beating the air around her to shoo away the smell of smoke.