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Bridges (Part 3) (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Part 3 of "Bridges." Parts 1 and 2 can be found here http://www.writingforums.com/threads/147371-Bridges-(Parts-1-amp-2)

Dressed in crisp, black suits, paper cups full of steaming coffee flit down the sidewalks, briefcases in hands. Steam spirals from the tops and fills their heads with a mild sense of comfort, patience.
If I can drink this entire cup of coffee, my day will be better, one thinks. Another believes the drink will provide him with energy.
A small smile plays on the corners of my lips. Caffeine doesn’t provide energy; it tricks your brain into thinking you have energy.
It’s like art. Both things trick you into having certain emotions without you actually conceiving the feeling.
I don’t have a problem weaving through the commuting pedestrians because my presence alone is repulsive. I’m dirty, covered in clay and chalk and charcoal. My clothes are baggy and slightly rumpled, yet I show too much skin. My skin.
They avoid my skin in fear of having some sort of creative contagion rub off on their intellect, as if my tattoos will somehow bleed off onto them. Ink stains.
As I approach Market Street, the crowd grows thicker. Steamed milk and fresh bread fill the air, and I take a long, greedy drag. Ducking and tucking my way through the crowd, my body is jostled by the men and women dressed for work. Head down, I remind myself.
The smaller I am, the less likely it is for me to be noticed.
Ha, the cynical laugh echoes through my head. There’s no way for you to go unnoticed. They can probably smell you.
My body subconsciously speeds up, attempting to break through the slew of intellects as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, as I gain quickness, I lose agility. My bag brushes against the hip of a middle aged woman, barely skimming the fabric of her pencil skirt.
She stops.
I freeze.
Our eyes meet for a fraction of a second before her painted lips form the word, “thief.” Striking black daggers meet sleek, silver knives.
My canvas bound feet are anchored to the ground, but every fiber of my body is quaking.
”Thief,” is repeated, louder this time. The foot traffic slows; her voice is heard. Curious eyes scan my figure, and I want to fold myself up like one of my drawings and hide between the pages of my notebook, safe from interested eyes.
“Thief!” she shrieks, lips curled back from teeth. My knuckles, white on the handle of my bag, curl into a shaking fist. I want to hit her, hurt her for her banal assumption. All artists are thieves, street rats. There is nothing good in us.
My stomach is pulling, telling me to get out. Pride is keeping me anchored. This woman, this intuitive mind, doesn’t have the right to accuse me of theft. I’m innocent, I think. My jaw remains locked, unable to form words.
“Don’t think I didn’t feel you trying to snatch my purse,” she spits. Flecks of gray pepper her blonde hair, and the longer I look the less perfect she seems. Cracks in her makeup reveal her sagging skin beneath. Bits of maroon are smudged on her teeth and she mutters, “Filthy aesthetic.”
I want to scream, to spit in her face. You don’t have a right to speak to me this way, I think. You don’t have a right to speak to anyone this way. Fists clench and unclench, stiff and throbbing with potential energy.
Few seconds have passed, but time is relative to content. When I’m sculpting, hours pass like fleeting thoughts. Now, seconds pass at an agonizingly slow rate, waiting for paint to dry or pottery to cool.
”Don’t you dare speak to me like that,” I say through bared teeth. Our glares remain unbroken, and I marvel at the sheer amount of enmity passing between the two of us. The tension, a snake, coils around my ribcage and squeezes my lungs. I can’t breathe.
I inhale to my lungs’ full capacity, but the air doesn’t reach the bottoms. The steamed milk and fresh bread lies feeble in the top of my chest, caught in my throat.
I swallow dryly as oxygen rots.
Finely sculpted eyebrows raise, baffled. Is this little rat challenging me? She thinks.
“I could have you arrested on accounts of sexual harassment.”
I don’t know how to respond. I’m innocent. My mouth attempts to form words, but no sound can push through my tight throat. She doesn’t need evidence. Her word is enough. My mistake is enough.
“Are you okay?” A man asks the woman. She feigns distress, fabricating an elaborate story of my sins. My eyes soften, dampened by burning tears collecting in the corners as they flick back and forth between the man and the woman. Disbelief.
He places a hand on the small of her back and leads her away; they melt into the crowd of black suits and coffee cups. I remain obvious, the object of ridicule in the center of Market Street. Vulnerable. Breakable.


Senior Member
I like this a lot. I can feel his cynicism. I can feel his disdain and contempt. A bit of longing (from the passive aggressive way he speaks about how he is dressed). I want to know more about him and how he got there.

The only thing I don't understand, is why, when this woman yells thief, a man comes and walks her away, but nothing happens to our thief? Why is he just left there? Why wasn't he hauled away? And why was he so scared when she screamed, if nothing would come of it? I'm sure all of this will be answered as the story progresses, but right now it doesn't quite make sense (to me). :) Can't wait to read more!!