Frog Eyes

This is a guest image post by Marissa. Inspiration for this sketch came from this image.

I first caught a glimpse of her when she moved in next door. But I saw only the swaying of her lithe figure, her face obscured by a large Chinese lamp she was carrying. She turned the corner into her place, trailing its black cord and the smell of gardenias behind her.

My building was an old pre-war walk-up, converted from a glamorous, but discreet hotel where fading stars would go to drink and wait out their decline. It had not changed much since that time. In the hallways, the floors were covered in thick carpeting, the walls in a pattern of gold florets, and the ceiling lights glowed dim behind smoked glass bells. The place was coated in a shabby hush, sinking us into the desire to be left alone, Greta Garbo style. We pretended ourselves more successful, more temporary guests from an earlier time.

When I saw her next, she was opening her mailbox in the lobby, and I caught a flash of elaborate, white blonde braids above a tailored dress. I noticed her silk stockings, her high heels, and the milky skin of her neck. I could picture the even symmetry of her face, the shape of her clear, sad eyes, to match her hair.

Late at night, I thought I could hear the muffled sound of her door buzzer or maybe it was the ring of her telephone, through the wall. Then there would be jazz music and the low hum of voices. I imagined her breathless, in the arms of one of those unsaveable boyfriends, some handsome, broken musician type.

Months passed and one night when I went out on my balcony, I found her out as well, chain smoking and staring at the street lamps below. I still couldn’t see her face at first, but then she turned. She looked just as I had pictured her; the porcelain skin, the perfect nose, the almond eyes. But I noticed something was off, her right eye was slightly less open, glazed over, and as she tilted toward me, I saw the glint of green glass. She reached across the gap and in a cigarette scarred voice, said “Hello. Nice to meet ya. My name’s Suzanne, but friends call me Frog Eyes.”