Two Women Reading Lolita

1.

She consumes black coffee and ravages the pages of her copy of Lolita; they snap and crack under her fingers as if they were made of flypaper instead of paperback stock. She’s at work, but doesn’t care for the customers. All she wants is the next sip of coffee and the next ten pages. She doesn’t stop for chapter breaks; they are like signs she blows past on the highway telling her to slowdown. Her coffee is fuel for speed and destruction and the words she reads shoot and twirl like spent machine gun casings out of a gun with the triggered hammered down.

She hates all the people that walk into where she works. Even the attractive ones do nothing for her, because their bodies are not made of Russian words, and their veins do not pump dark roast. All the people she meets are lesser than books, and because of that she avoids them, and cuts swathes of them out of her life like an editor would cut bad bullshit.

But when she reads Lolita all is good. The coffee tastes better when her eyes dance and twirl with Nabokov’s text. Things are better when she reads Lolita.

2.

Some days she misses him like she would miss one of her arms if it had been sliced off at the elbow by a straight razor. Other days she misses him like she would miss the punched out, lipstick smeared cigarettes in the ashtray. She drinks expensive tea and reads her nights away. The tea comes in all different flavors, and all of them remind her of different days and states of their relationship when he was there; Earl Grey for his kisses, green tea for the feeling of his hair under her fingers.

She is reading Lolita and the words plug holes in her life where he isn’t; Paragraphs stuffed into his empty spot in their bed, and page numbers clinging to the clothes he left behind. She reads slowly, savoring every sensation she can extract from the words.

She loses herself in the text, because it is good, and reading it is easier than thinking about him and how all the familiar places aren’t the same without him. Things are better when she reads Lolita.

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