A wiry nervous woman in a long purple jacket paces outside on the sidewalk smoking a cigarette. She hold the cigarette with long outstretched fingers which gives her the look of performing a very delicate procedure. She wears a large black hat with the short brim turned up in the front and the back. The hat has a deep bucket shape and reminds me a hat that a woman in the late 1910s would wear. The front of the hat sits so low on her head that it sits perched on her glasses. The glasses–in turn–sit slipped down on her nose, forcing her to peer downwards in order to see anything. She turns her head roundly on her neck, peering down through the glasses to look around. The lenses look cloudy and smudged by careless fingers so carefully smoking. She doesn’t seem to have any eyes just a thin pale mouth. She is a all hat, most, and nervous rigid fingers.
With her long sharp nose that protrudes from her face and her tendency to see the world with a stooped head, the woman looks like a mole. Only she is a mole who is too nervous to dip down in the ground again. Instead she sits above ground in the dim light of a rainy afternoon biting at her fingernails. Her right knee is propped up on the left one and bobs up and down relentlessly. She stares at the table, sips her coffee, bobs her knee, looks up, then tilts her head back in a desperate gulping action, as if she still has dirt caught in her throat from her last reluctant underground foray.
She talks to herself outside when she smokes. She cuts the air in half with a stiff arm that sweeps downwards and stops in front of her. It is a decisive gesture. An emphatic stopgap against some plea to go back underground. She holds the hand there. Mutters something. The cigarette smoke becoming air around her. The point is made. The rigid fingers return to butt end of the cigarette to her mouth.
With her large hat and nervous manner, she reminds me of a suffragette, ready to blow up a mailbox for her cause. Only this woman is possessed by demons who gurgle up from underground and take on an ambiguous shade of concrete. They are so unseen and no amount of staring will see them out. And she will not go back underground. She’s been choking on clods ever since. Now she has blown down the block; though I see her pause making one last emphatic gesture before the voices pull her underground again against her will.