“The room is dark, the air musky. She stands by the window, picks up a cigarette and lights it. For a few seconds, the empty walls of the room is licked with the sudden wavering dances from the flame. And then nothing. She inhales the smoke deeply, looks out into the gulf of darkness and tries to make out the silhouettes of the trees and apartment buildings made prominent from several street lights. There is a sudden flickering of light from the opposite window. Her heart skips a beat. Instantly she chucks her right hand behind the curtains of her window and watches as the fluorescent ceiling lights come to life. It’s Mr Zhang, a client who visits her every now and then for suit alterations. She cannot recall the last time he has visited but she remembers his strong broad shoulders and the faint smell of nicotine in his hair as she takes his measurements. She takes one last deep puff and feels the burning down her throat as she draws the curtains shut.
Switching on the lamp by the dressing table, she carefully caresses the collection of mannequin hands lying on the dresser with her fingertips; like how any pianist would fondly touch the keys of a piano. She reaches the ‘last note’ and decides on no.25, elegantly curved with red painted nails. The rubber vinyl-like hand meets her left fingers and then snaps tightly onto her right wrist. It almost makes her imperfection non existent.
The room is dim, the air stale. She lies on the bed, draws her left fingers to her nose and inhales. For a moment, she thinks about his broad shoulders and reenacts the smell of the faint nicotine in his hair. But then all is forgotten as no.25 ascends, consumes her, and eventually wastes her down.”