We sat in the fourth row above the rising violin bows and gazed at the angels of light leaping lightly across the stage, rising a moment on a toe, other leg suspended curving -- . . . never to fall.
But in my heart were the faces of the girls at Beijing Station. Red lips drew my eyes as I bounded the last two steps out of the subway and she was so close the almost-blank thick face could not have not seen my glance. Past her I stopped to wait for the others. Her thick torso was enwrapped in a dress; small breasts pushed high. Who was she waiting for? Like an invisible thread strung in a split moment my glance pulled her slowly around to find me standing there, to give me a glance.
It makes me so sad, this being born master and slave.
Our laughter wrapped us and trailed out behind us like a cloud of aura in alienness sloughing off bits as we wove through the clusters of poor folk not laughing sniffing the bits of cloud of our cheer. In the thinness of our filmy cheer I saw other women like the one at the top of the stairs. They had not gone so far as to wait there by the people rivering up out of the ground, nakedly waiting someone like a bride in an arranged marriage awaiting without any escort a groom recognizable only by glance, a groom not even aware until that moment his destination. They stood near their men or went about in pairs, forlorn birds. I saw their shiny gold elastic holding their hair severely back. I saw their black smooth pants stretched taut across their crotches. I saw their shoes, soles three inches thick holding them tottering above the earth. I saw their lipstick burning an outline of lips beyond the bound of their real lips, like a stamp clumsily smashed home like a giant, I saw their wrists circled by bangles manufactured in giant factories I saw canyons of misery. And theirs wasn’t the only misery there but it was the only misery screaming itself across the canyon of cool grey sky and milling faces outside Beijing Station, seeking to draw more faces’ response: even if the response be just misery glancing echoed back off walls of rocky men.