Thursday, May 07, 2015

Have you met Jack?

It was late into the night. Weekend traffic was still heavy on the flyover that looked like a hurdles athlete who had taken a leap to bypass the city. The sky was still crowded with rain clouds after the surprise summer shower during the evening, and there still was the occasional glimmer of a distant thunder in the otherwise dark and gloomy night sky. The wind was chilly, and fairly strong. As I looked on from the balcony on the 13th floor, bright lights zoomed past each other on the six lane traffic, creating a distinctive sound each time they covered a concrete slab that made up the flyover, and moved on to the next.

I was leaning with my back against the steel railing of the balcony and feeling the chill of the metal seep into my body, which, combined with the wind, was giving me goosebumps. She was sitting on a rugged wicker easy chair which was probably seeing the last lap of its life due to the neglect and carelessness at the hands of its owner. She shook her head from the side to back, hoping the bang that fell on her face would go back to its right place. She brought the lighter closer to her lips, and lit the Classic that stuck out of her mouth. As the tip grew into a glowing red, she let off a huge puff of blue smoke into the night sky and inhaled.

She threw the lighter onto the small coffee table that came with the chair. It has cracked. Just like her, I thought. She leaned back onto the chair, and blew another round of smoke into the air, but this time slowly. Her gaze turned to me.

"So.... Have you met Jack?", she asked.

I was a bit confused. I didn't remember any Jack who was a common friend. Nor did I seem to recollect anyone by that name whom she had mentioned before. But I knew it better not to ask her then. I nodded in denial.

She leaned forward and reached out to the empty glass on the coffee table. She got up and walked a few steps to the table in the dining room. There was an almost empty bottle of Jack Daniels on the it. She titled the bottle and filled her glass with the golden brown liquid. Once she was happy with the quantity she had poured herself, she kept back the bottle on the table, never bothering to put the cap back on it. She removed the lid of the ice bucket, and dipped her hand inside it. She grabbed whatever she could with her hand, which was three pieces of ice that had already melted quite a bit, and dropped them with a plop into her poison.

She grinned at me, and danced her way back to balcony on her toes, doing an occasional turn with the glass raised high, as if it were her partner. She came to the balcony, and leaned on towards me. She reached till my chin. I could smell alcohol in her breath. And tobacco too. And above all that, the very distinctive smell of her. She grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, and pulled herself closer to me. She raised her other hand, the one with the glass, and began to swirl the golden liquid inside the glass in front of my face.

She looked straight into my eyes, and asked me again "So..... Have you met Jack?"