Friday, 29 April 2011
People thought she was achingly cool; the way she looked like a model (only shorter), dressed like a rock star and the way she writhed and sang sweetly as she poured drinks for customers at the bar. Plus she had a sexy French accent and pronounced 'beach' like 'bitch'.
Nobody really knew her, but they came to hang out at the bar in the hope of getting to know her. Guys came to gaze at her perfect feline face and her long legs. Girls came to see what she was wearing or how she wore her hair.
At lunchtimes she sat cross-legged on the sofa, her boots scuffed, tights ripped. She ate sushi slowly, and wore her cat-eye glasses to read literature or poetry. Big headphones covered her delicate ears and she nodded to music that only she could hear.
People grilled the equally cool guys she worked with; they wore skinny jeans and their hair in pompadours. They’d just shrug, they didn’t really know either. Occasionally the staff all went out together and Betty would come too and get tipsy on rum and coke, and dance crazy like no one was watching. She looked beautiful and ethereal. When a guy chatted her up she’d smile sadly and just say ‘I can’t, sorry’.
Every night Betty went home to a small flat in north London. Her cats would meow and run up and rub on her legs, entwining around her calves. She’d feed them and strip down to knickers and an old rock t-shirt, and she’d lean on the window sill wishing the London sky wasn’t so polluted with light so that she could see the stars and constellations. Tears would stream down her face and her heart would rattle.