June 23rd, 2009
|12:19 pm - Real Jewelry|
Of late I have found myself slightly irritated by various style pronouncements -- One Must Wear X, One Must Not Wear Y, A Woman Should Wear Z or Fear A Fashionista's Wrath. Of late I have found myself gritting my teeth and deleting bookmarks to style sites because I am so irritated... And why invite irritation when it comes so easily and unwelcomed on its own?
But I didn't delete one such site quickly enough, and... well, here. A not-so-nice 500-word flashfic in response -- on the theme of "real jewelry."
Madame Parker, famous for her pronouncements to women 'of a certain age,' has given many luncheon speeches before. She knows when her audience is hanging on those pronouncements -- when that woman in sensible shoes in the back row curls her toes in embarrassment at her own aesthetic sins, when that woman on the aisle tugs at her modal cotton blouse (so declasse) as if to pull out the offending threads, when that woman with the ill-cut trousers wants to hack at the wrong wrong wrong waistband and start all over.
Madame Parker is here to help, even if she must hurt them first. And now, the culmination for which her audience waits...
"No woman over forty-five can afford to wear cheap jewelry," she trumpets. "It must be real."
At this point in the usual luncheon speech, there are cheers, frantic clapping, whispered vows to domestic goddesses that such jewelry shall be obtained regardless of price. Madame Parker inhales --
But over the first ripples of cheers, clapping, vows, a polite, husky female voice is raised. "Madame, a question?"
Madame Parker (who refuses to wear glasses) leans forward to spy the questioner, there in the front row. Ah, it is today's This One.
There is so often a This One at these luncheons. A This One is wearing strange experimental fashions, of fabrics or cuts which are not...done. A This One believes foolishly in making her own style. A This One might be older than Madame Parker's announced age of fifty-three (which is nine years younger than her birth age, and thanks go to her plastic surgeon for keeping the refreshment of face and figure so natural), she might be younger, but above all, she pretends not to care. Madame Parker is sure that such detachment is pretense.
Yes, Madame Parker has squelched This Ones aplenty, and she smiles now in feline anticipation. "Yes, my dear. Ask away."
This particular One smiles in return. She is wearing a cunningly draped, annoyingly artful slip of a dress -- probably Japanese, Madame Parker mentally sniffs; possibly something as strange as hemp, with random green threads which look like seaweed. Her long, even hair shines silver. Madame Parker will not admit that This One looks distinguished in her way, although it would be true.
This One does not ask a question, however. She says a word.
And in that word is Madame Parker's secret sorrow -- part crime, part loss, all pain. Madame Parker has spent thirty-eight years suppressing that sorrow. One word, however, brings it all back.
Madame Parker clutches the lectern on which lie the notes she cannot read. Madame Parker closes her eyes on the fierce, burning tears which swell dizzyingly fast.
All pain, she thinks. All pain, just from a word.
That pain-become-tears pushes through barriers, bursts nerves, washes in blood, and then falls.
Two pearls, huge, perfect, roll down Madame Parker's cheeks. The tracks leave marks of silver ash. The pearls drop to the floor and roll away, never to be found.
"There," This One says. "That is real indeed. Wear them if you dare."
Today, may you wear only what gives you pleasure. :-)
Oh my! I love this indeed!
Thank you thank you thank you, ALH. :-)
submit this some places.
I think that this post means I can't submit it anywhere. But you are a fabulous kind person for suggesting it, and I thank you. :-) [hugs]
Oh, that's awesome, in a kinda creepy way. You don't know whether to despise or feel sorry for Madame Parker, and you wind up doing both.
And it leaves you wondering what the word was, that carried such pain...
If I told you the word, it wouldn't be as creepy, right? ;-)
Thank you so much, S, for this wonderful reading -- I appreciate the comment v.v. much.
This way, it suggests a dark, twisty backstory that has made Mme. P. who she is, hidden under a veneer of fashion so perfect that not even she remembers it, until This One reminds her.
I'm going with "lapidary perfection" for the story.
Julia, hoping none of the sidhe show up to reify my old hurts until I've the time to deal with the consequences, though.
Yes -- This One's appearance is not particularly one to wish for.
Thank you v.v. much, Julia, for such a kind reading, and I feel sure that you are safe from This One!
|Date:||June 23rd, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC)|| |
Oh, I do love that! You go, girl!
I've been fighting the too old/too ugly/too fat/not worth the trouble to wear... battle with myself for a while. I realised I'm wearing drab colors and none of my really fun t-shirts (Goddess Formerly Known as Princess) because some teenage mall store clerk made a snotty remark about it, to another clerk, in front of me.
I need to be braver, I know.
Sometimes one is too tired to be brave. [hugs]
But perhaps This One needs to visit that mall clerk...
Thank you so much for reading, A!
I agree with heron_pose
--you should send this out!
It's a public post, though, so I can't send it out (even if I knew where!). But you are a wonderful person for suggesting it.
Many thanks and hugs, Gwynne.
Well, you could if you locked the post!
|Date:||June 23rd, 2009 06:52 pm (UTC)|| |
That was good. Really good.
Thank you thank you thank you, L! [beams]
Excellent. I can feel it right between my shoulder blades.
You are a fabulous reader, Susan, and such a visceral one. Thank you so so much for the reaction!
I share your irritation over obligatory fashion rules, so I doubly enjoyed this story. But mostly it's just - ooh, creepy cool!
Thank you and thank you, C -- and let us ignore those annoying fashion rules together! [links arms with you]
Er, not that I condone making people cry pearl-tears. [cough]
Oooooooooh. I want to know what the word is! But I guess to reveal it would be to lose some of the magic. Maybe it's more fun to guess. I feel sorry for Madame P, despite herself.
And as you probably guessed long ago, the fashionistas pass me by. What I find cool and sophisticated is a woman or man who knows what they like, what suits them, and puts it together in an interesting way, not caring what other people think. A unique, individual style.
Yes, indeed. Own your own style!
(Which you do, because you are cool. [hugs])
I'm not telling. ;-)
And thanks and thank again and hugs, A!
Thank you thank you! :-) (And a good almost-Thursday to you, too.)