With a lost expression on her face, she waited on the balcony of The Empire. The wind whipped through her auburn hair, as the heavy mass tangled and entwined. But she remained unconcerned. Her hair was a mess, her cheeks pink from the cold wind, and her arms chilled. Her violet satin sheath covered her curves snugly, and the slit down the side billowed with each gust of wind.
Her feet, encased in gold satin pumps, should have been aching by then, having waited half the day for Anthony to arrive. A gold-and-white-pearl watch winked at her wrist alongside the diamond bracelet,which was her engagement gift. Her lips shone with rhubarb pigment and her eyes were deeply lined with kohl. In her hands, she held a pink rosebud, almost ready to bloom, as she waited.
The concierge had offered her refreshments a little while back but she had been oblivious to his presence, having eyes only for her fiance. She leaned over the ornate banister, peering at the street below. Hurried businessmen, loud-mouthed cab drivers, ladies decked up in all their finery, and children playing across the street; the sights that she had seen all through the day had had little or no impact on her.
She gazed at the quiet scene before her eyes at that moment, and saw a deserted street, with no signs of the urgency, or the uncouthness, or the fun that had swamped the place in the evening. Her eyes stared, without focus, at the street lamp across the street, seemingly ignorant of the activity surrounding it, as moths, bugs and insects of varying audibility buzzed near it.
A dog sat on the sidewalk, scratching itself, blissfully unaware of anything around it. Very much like the young woman on the balcony. Her kohl-lined eyes were slightly smeared, leaving behind the trail of a wiped tear. A ghost of a smile played on her lips as if she were recalling some pleasant memories.
She checked the pearl face of her watch and shook her head imperceptibly. Behind her, across the glass doors, a gaggle of servers looked in her direction time and again, sharing covert glances and worried expressions. One of them walked timidly up to the Head Concierge and asked him, "Sir, is Ms. Grisham going to be alright in the cold outside? Shouldn't we offer her her coat or something?"
To which the wizened old man replied, "Son, I have seen her standing there, every Wednesday, for the past six years. Holding a pink bud, wearing the same attire, and waiting. Waiting endless for Mr. Rosenthal to come back from Paris."
"And why hasn't he returned, Sir?"
"He was killed in a car crash, Son. Six years back. Right outside this building."