Truth is stranger than fiction

9 Jan

Judy smokes at least five cigarettes every work day, probably a few packs a day. Her body shows it. She’s so skinny that her clothes hang limp around her brittle bones. Her skin is grayish with wrinkles streaking through it, cut deeply into her face, which also sags. Some of her front teeth are missing and others, blackened.

She often wears purple mascara, which doesn’t brighten her eyes, as I suspect she hopes it does, but rather makes them look scary and out of place. Her hair is the same color as her skin, very thin and cut in a mullet style that she talks sometimes about styling, however I’m not sure how she accomplishes this. I cannot tell either way. She walks surprisingly briskly through the office for someone who looks so decrepit, and soundlessly, like she’s stepping down with the balls of her feet and springing back up again. She has a quick, bird-like and direct manner of looking you right in the eyes, not around, above or beneath you, but straight in the eyeball. Not for long, though. She’ll say what she has to say, which is often an opinion on something or another, and then walk briskly away, perhaps to smoke another cigarette or because she heard the front door jangle, and she’s the receptionist.

If you are Judy’s friend, she will love you. She will also protect you, and your automobile. Because she spends so much time outdoors smoking, she ritually checks on the cars in the parking lot, and it’s something she takes very seriously. Maybe because she has nothing else to do when smoking but gaze out at the cars, and sky, and so she comes back in with a report on them. Matthew’s car will get a ticket soon if he doesn’t move it, she’ll say. It’s in the wrong place. Sarah’s does have a ticket. She’ll also report on the weather. “It’s getting bad out” or “It’s nice again today.” Often that’s right after the cars. One time she told me, because I parked right next to her car, that her car would protect mine from anyone or anything. She was serious. It was like a “I got your back” kind of thing. If someone scraped my car, I wondered what she would do to the driver? Ram them with her car?

I’m not sure how old Judy is because smoking makes you look so much older. I’m guessing late 50s. She does not have any children and is divorced. She loves two things, her cats and television shows. Begin talking about a pet story, and she’ll probably begin crying because she feels that deeply. She walks briskly from one office cubicle to the next, chatting people up about the shows she knows they watch, stopping at one to talk about Survivor, and other to discuss the Bachelor. She is one of those people who can talk about anything at any time, whose tongues never tangle and whose words never jam.

I wasn’t sure what to write about tonight, but I then felt that I would write about Judy, whose every detail, besides the name, is entirely real.



One Response to “Truth is stranger than fiction”

  1. Grayquill January 9, 2011 at 5:50 am #

    Judy has caught your attention for detail. Good job – you made it easy for me to see her clearly.

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