Last week I went to the Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate. We were asked to write a fiction piece based on our favourite image from the Selfie Exhibit. Here’s mine:
Turner Contemporary Gallery Visit – Inspiration: Tracey Emin picture
When she walked into the room, it was obvious she was high. She rocked herself back and forth on the spot like a barely sea-worthy fishing boat; weak and under prepared for the storm to come. As she pushed past the scarcely clothed bodies that filled the rotting beach house I’d rented for the month, a smile crept across her thin lips. She drew her hands up to the top button of her dress and undid them one by one. One step, one button: until she was stood in just her jewels and her blue mismatched underwear surrounded by drunken twenty-somethings with money to burn. I remember Lana Del Rey’s ‘Young and Beautiful’ playing in the background, but all I could focus on was this strange girl stripping in the kitchen. For some bizarre reason, it reminded me to add milk to my shopping list. Her skin looked yellow and bright compared the moulded whitewashed plank walls that encased the entire building and her braided hair made her look younger than she was (or younger than I hoped she was).
Outside the summer storm was making the air sweet and sticky, but the drugs had an even better effect on my guests. They danced and laughed and sung into the early hours of the night. But the girl ignored her audience, whilst simultaneously captivating us all. No one knew who she was, and no one could tell. Her underwear left little to the imagination, but her jewellery was what finally gave her away; a spoilt city girl with Mother’s good looks and Daddy’s cash to spend. Friends in high places was the phrase, and was most certainly the reason she was taking off her bra and leaving it in the sink. Flaunting drug-wrecked skin for the stare of strangers just to get the attention she craved.
I didn’t see her again after that party: only in a Polaroid I found taped to my refrigerator the next morning. On the back was scrawled a phone number in smudged black ink with a lipstick stain to seal it. I never call her.