As we sat down the couch seemed to just disappear under us. Either it was very very old or just had a hard working life in London. The Couch was a big red hug of leather. The dipping center drew us together and the sides rose above us like the wings of a dragon.
She peered at me over her raised cocktail glass.
"Cheers" she said.
The absinthe was cold and so alcoholic that it felt like it vaporised as it slid down my throat. It left a lingering vapor of rosemary that seemed to stretch out and grow between both of us.
She closed her eyes when she sipped the glass, her hand so thin yet taut with unspoken strength. She was somewhere else for a moment. The absithne casting a green haze over her mind, dragging her back to Ostrava where she spent many a night across friends and lovers in that absinthe bar, tasting the same taste and seeing the same green.
She looked at me now. She put on just a bit of eye shadow but I could see that she was worn. And she could smile. Oh, it was a gorgeous smile. The lines on her face told a story of where they had been crumpled in pain, that she could not hide. But she smiled like someone standing up from a wheelchair. She had been in the pits before and she knows she will go there again. But she smiles like she cherishes this singular, temprorary victory.
But even her, there was one thing she held back. She always bit her top lip. Her smile would stretch across her face but like a tug of war between a heart and head, her top lip would be battled over. The head seemed to win even if I could feel her chest beating in the void between us.