She stood on the stoop and stared into a window so close she could see the sweat beading on her neighbor's face as he stirred a pot. Noise from a hundred televisions clung to the humidity, hanging in the air punctuated by the deep throb of bass from radios set in windows. She shifted on the hot metal and wiped the damp hair from her face while she watered the little pots of wilting green. The city was not what she'd expected.
Not for the first time, she craved a cigarette. She'd kicked the habit after high school when nicotine stained teeth had stared back at her in the mirror. She'd known even then only perfection succeeded. But now, with the weight of the city crowding her dreams and pressing her expectations flat, she wanted the surge of nicotine and to flick charred tobacco and paper into the dirty street below.
Instead, she set the vibrant pink watering can next to the flowers clinging to life and took a deep breath of hot air that was still cooler than the suffocating apartment behind her. From the corner of her eye, she saw a man step on the stoop next to her. He was a living stereotype with his dirty white undershirt stretched tight across a stomach bulging over plaid boxers. She adjusted her sunglasses as she felt his eyes roam her body, eating in the tanned flesh exposed by her bikini and mini skirt. She heard him clear his throat and closed her eyes in disgust.
"Hot one." She didn't know if he was talking about the day or giving her a two word pick up line.
Every man she wanted to see her, barely gave her a glance, yet this man in his filth thought she'd be open to conversation. She refused to look in his direction.
"Bitch," he muttered. She remained motionless as he stepped over the window sill and back into his cave. Sighing, she took off her sunglasses, letting the glare of the sun off the windows blind her to the ugliness surrounding her.
This is a piece of fiction inspired by Write on Edge's weekly writing prompt. If you're a long time reader, you might recognize this character. I haven't seen her in a while, but am happy she's visiting.
2 days ago