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"Ophelia" was inspired in part by the Shakespearian character, as well as the song Ophelia by the beautiful Natalie Merchant. (I've been listening to it nonstop for the past week or so... I think everyone else in my house is pretty much sick of it XD)
A smoldering cigarette sat balanced on the lip of the ashtray. A curl of pearly smoke still rose from the rosy tip, rising to the nicotine stained ceiling and permeating the room with its unique scent. She didn't smoke just any cigarette, no, she went to great pains in finding only the premium brand, whatever that may be at the time. She went through Marlboros and Broncos like water. It was like the smoke sustained her, forming her sprite like form, giving her shape.
A hand reached over to where the abandoned cigarette lay, a hand which was as pearly as the smoke which still rose from the paper-rolled stub, naked fingernails deliciously curved at just the right angle. There was a ring on her thumb, just a silver band with a slightly round indentation in the center, nothing special. Fine blue veins ran their busy ways underneath the sheen of flawless skin, marking her like roads, like rivers, one of her few indications of life.
The hand, as flawless and smoky as the skin, as blue as the veins, as naked as the fingernails, brought the stub to her mouth, which was, as always, painted such a rouge that the setting sun would turn its jealous face from her in disgust. It curved at just the right places, plump but not bursting, taut but not drawn, smiling, but not at all happy, sardonic, but not cold. The mouth had a set of teeth, kept as always in pristine condition, gleaming in the colored light of an impossible amount of candles, straight as regimented soldiers, and as reassuring as a tiger's. The mouth took one last kiss at the edge of the cigarette, drawing the smoke into her body like a healing mist, before putting paper, filter, tobacco, and drug out of its misery, like an executioner to its beloved.
Then, with those unsullied hands of hers, she dug in a purse that was as white as her blouse, caressing the silk like the sheets of a lover's bed. Her eyes, pale and round, lending accuracy to her search. People could have drowned in those eyes, framed with lashes that had no need of enhancements, that spoke of better times, of places worth wandering, and of things which were lost. Finally those fingers of hers seemed to make blissful contact with the mirror they so desperately sought, then a brush, and, with a practiced, dignified motion, Ophelia began to brush her hair.
For Ophelia was the one people went to who needed to forget. They were the people who the rest of the world had forgotten, who sulked on street corners in clothes which stank of depravity and denial, who late at night would stay up watching old soap operas and forbidden dramas while the rest slept, who survived on one gust of tears to the next stab of heartache. With those wide, pale eyes she would show them trials of her own, she would heal their wounded egos with those rouged, jealous lips of hers, and, between her cigarettes, would stoke their imaginations with thoughts of better days, richer times, and warmer climates.
To the healer the wounded went, setting offerings down at her sandaled feet like a demigoddess, singing psalms and promises of their own redemption to her bejeweled ears, each one swearing an unquestioned alliance to their own beloved Ophelia, healer, prophet, and city-sweetheart.
She watched these exchanges with distanced eyes, a smile teasing those impassioned lips, only to change the subject with a lighter and a new brand of cigarettes.
Ophelia lived in an apartment to the south of the city. Even she didn't know how long she had lived there, how many of those broken and discordant souls had fallen across her door mat only to be inspired by her remedial litany.
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