How To Be Lovely
She walks into the room with dark black glasses and a black coat.
I’ll have an espresso.
She places herself in a corner by the window and reads a book.
She knows they are watching but she doesn’t mind.
She is famous
Not in the way you think
She is glamorous, mournful famous
We’ve seen her so many times
She looks like a mermaid
All at sea
Or the front of a French film cover
She lights a cigarette and one stray tear falls from her face.
She looks out the window into the light
Are you ok madam?
The cafe is French with a bay window
The waiter is of course French
She mutters she is fine under her breath. It has silky restraint
Thank you, yes i’m fine
But she looks out the window and the second tear falls
She wipes it away with defiant restraint.
A dignified man appears
Are you ok darling? Whats wrong?
Nothing she says
The dignified man offers to buy her a drink but she couldn’t possibly accept
She is fine
She is dignified defiant.
You saw her on stage once. Hold herself strong before she was taken by the camera
You saw her on film holding it together.
Smiling delicately at the party.
I want her to play my Juliet. They would say
I want to her to play Hedda.
She has something of a young Juliet about her…
Yes I can see that.
She was picked up in a champagne haze on a night she was happy, surrounded by friends
and cameras. It might not have happened if she hadn’t been shiny that evening.
The man loved the way she looked at him.
I love the way you look at me he says
Those eyes. I could swim in those eyes
Those doe eyes
She smiles shyly and drags at her cigarette.
You’re all that I need. You’re so so lovely.
She was scooped into a house made of flowers and cappucino sundays. Of white company dressing gowns and bay windows. She is so so happy. She is so refined happy.
She keeps her script in a draw.
They’re so lovely.
The world smiles at the couple
It watches her cheek be kissed on a Sunday morning
It watches her delightfully lovely make meals for friends and friends of friends
She sometimes dreams of howling
of dancing, faster and faster
Of laughing while she’s dancing
Of living with the lions
Of lions on her body
She wakes in a hot sweat
Longing to go back to sleep
But she forgets very quickly.
Written by Isobel Rogers
Illustrated by Sophie Traugut