Last night I met Miss Ingen.
The time was rather peculiar. I was flirting with the idea of giving up the futile pursuit of being somebody. I was not fooling anyone, and last night I thought perhaps I should stop being fooled by myself.
Few steps away from the door of my building stood a figure clad in black. She grinned when she finally noticed me. Balding and as wrinkled as forgotten promises,with teeth that’s a couple of spaces apart, I was certain I was seeing awful incarnate.
I wondered if she felt the chilly air seeping through the gaps in her teeth. I wonder if it’ll ever come out again.
“What took you so long?” she said.
There was nobody else around other than a stray cat.
“I…have no idea,” I said.
It was true.
“I used to be somebody, you know,” Miss Ingen said, sipping the coffee I made for her. It was black as she requested. As I expected.
“A lot of men wanted to marry me. Ha, many of them have been beautiful. Most of them were powerful. Power comes in many ways, you know? One was the leader of a serial killing club. Another controls West Africa. Another controls Hollywood–nah, he controls the people who control that plasticland.”
We were sitting on the couch I got from the garbage. Literally. I paid nothing for the lime thing. It’s one of the nicest things that happened this year. Well, there’s the fact that it’s lime. But hell, poor lodgers don’t have very wide palettes to choose from, do we?
“Why didn’t you marry any of them? I’d have gone for the Hollywood king,” I said
“I told you,” she said, “I used to be somebody. Why would I tie myself to anyone if I have the whole world for that? I traveled the world, you know. Far and wide. I’ve seen many things; some I wish I could forget, some I wish I still remember.” She sipped from her coffee, taking an eternity as she did so. I never said anything though. I was afraid I would end it all.
Finally she set her cup back in her lap. I relaxed.
“I was a household name in Siam for ten years. But then I moved on. You could only stay in a place for too long before it grows weary of you,” she said. I nodded. The same could be said for people. Do you Believe in Magic by Lovin’ Spoonful was playing next door.
I hate small apartments.
“Were you happy? Being a somebody?” I asked.
I’m not sure if there ever was a response. The next thing I knew I was staring at a pool of unfiltered sunlight molding itself in a cracked tile. There was only me lying on the lime-colored couch. The only evidence of the night before are the two empty cups on the floor.