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Fun with Words: "Gravitas" - Laura Wise

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May 28th, 2010


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09:37 am - Fun with Words: "Gravitas"
Today, for some reason --perhaps because I felt so very heavy on my morning walk-run-- I began to ponder the word gravitas (According to the OED: noun. Dignity, solemnity.) It sounds like something else, doesn't it?

And so, a fic-bit of fun with words: "Gravitas."


Ms Alice Stonewood is the most effective manager the local credit union has ever seen.

Always wearing a dark suit perfectly cut to her tall, lean person, she walks the halls -- her pace solemn, her smile wise, her glances over her subordinates' shoulders enough to make the most slacker-hearted among them sit up straight and guiltily close out Facebook. She is kind yet firm with loan applicants, and the default rate is incredibly low. She once foiled an armed robbery with nothing more than a stern look. (The robbers are no doubt still running, her staff thinks.)

"She has such gravitas," says her executive assistant, out with the associate manager for drinks one spring evening after work. "Such... gravitas."

The associate manager is the only employee who's ever seen Ms Stonewood after dusk, and that only once. It was enough. He smiles at the drunken assistant and then orders another round. "Matty," he says, "you have no idea."

At this moment Ms Stonewood is arriving home -- her house hidden by a thick, circular hedge, with the oddest door cut in the center. When the hedge-door shuts behind her with a heavy, echoing sound, she smiles and calls, "Morgan! I'm back!"

Her husband Morgan, barefoot and greying and slightly ragged in jeans and loose shirt, throws open the front door and steps out onto the front porch. The house seems to wrap around him, stone and blue-painted wood and strangely scored pillars at odd places. Morgan himself doesn't look like the respected high school principal he is during working hours, but like an aging vagabond with secrets to sell.

As she looks at him, Alice's smile grows -- wise, still, but not at all solemn.

The path between the hedge-door and the front porch seems to undulate, its coat of green moss shining over grey stone flags.

Morgan slouches against the nearest pillar and looks at his fingernails. "Can't come in dressed like that, darling."

"Can I not?"

"No," and he snaps his fingers, and then he laughs.

"I am not doing this at your command, my heart," and the moss-covered stone flags ripple again with the strength of her words.

When he smiles, the joy is crooked-true. "Do it at your own behest, then. Stubborn woman."

She tips her head back and puts out her arms. The buttons of her severe dark suit jacket slip themselves through the buttonholes. The jacket slips itself off her body and onto the path.

The impact makes a heavy, echoing sound, as if a stone has met stone. She takes two steps, and she is moving faster than she was.

But Morgan looks at his fingernails again. "Not enough, darling."

"And you call me stubborn," she says, laughing, and the house catches the last of the day's sunlight and flashes rose and then fades to grey.

He laughs back at her, smile crooked, eyes warm.

She touches her fingers to the fastening of her skirt. The garment slides itself off her body and onto the path.

Another heavier, echoing sound, as if stone has met stones.

As she takes several more steps, fast, fast, Morgan reaches out his hand to her. "Almost," he says merrily.

She glimmers there for a breath, in her long-tailed shirt and sensible heels. "Almost," she says, and the shoes slip themselves off her feet with a sound like a cliff sliding itself down to the sea.

He leaps down two steps and catches her wrist before she lifts entirely off the path. "Darling," he says, "come in properly and have supper."

"Properly, ha!" she says, and it's light as leaves in a drifting breeze.

Ms Alice Stonewood does have gravitas. In the daytime.

...........................................



Happy weekend to you all, and may there be good paths and good light. :-)

(14 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:anne_d
Date:May 28th, 2010 01:43 pm (UTC)
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Lovely, and I can just see it all.

I especially love the last line, it's perfect.

Ms Alice Stonewood does have gravitas. In the daytime.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 28th, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad it pleased -- and the last line was what I got first. :-)

Thank you thank you, A, and may your burdens be lightened this weekend.
[User Picture]
From:mamculuna
Date:May 28th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
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What a great pair of people! I especially like Morgan.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 28th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
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How lovely of you to read and comment! And I rather like Morgan too. ;-)

Thank you thank you, and a good weekend to you!
[User Picture]
From:nutterbudgie
Date:May 28th, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
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I am a fan of Ms. Alice Stonewood. Beautifully written, you. :)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 28th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
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What a nice thing to say -- thank you thank you for reading and enjoying! :-)

Happy weekend, too!
[User Picture]
From:heron_pose
Date:May 28th, 2010 10:00 pm (UTC)
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Stone and wood -- my favorites! This scenario has real promise, in two ways.

thanks so much for a little hiatus from theory. :-)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 29th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
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I'm so glad it was a pleasant (if brief) hiatus from theory, and SO glad you enjoyed. Thank you, H_P, and a wonderful weekend. :-)
[User Picture]
From:mobile_alh
Date:May 28th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
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What a delicious vignette...a delightful way to start the holiday weekend, all light and airy!

::chooses butterfly icon as most appropriate::

hugs and happy days off to you!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 29th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
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Thank you, ALH, thank you thank you for butterfly icons and kind words!

I hope your weekend is a deliciously light one in all the right ways. :-) [hugs]
[User Picture]
From:paratti
Date:May 29th, 2010 08:19 am (UTC)
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Loved it.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 29th, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
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Thank you thank you, L, and have a wonderful Saturday! :-)
[User Picture]
From:stevie_carroll
Date:May 31st, 2010 08:44 am (UTC)
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Fascinating characters!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 31st, 2010 10:41 am (UTC)
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They just came to me. Now, if I only had a story...

Good thoughts and thanks, and a good Bank Holiday to you! :-)

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