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A Stained Silk Dress

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  • A Stained Silk Dress

    “A pot of Earl Grey, Twinings, of course;
    loose tea, not those contemptible teabags.
    And I have decided on, the three-tiered
    melody of afternoon dainties,
    the array with the slivered salmon,
    with a side serving of lemon,
    halved and thinly sliced, mind you.
    One is never awarded with
    an adequate amount of lemon
    with one’s salmon,
    and do remove the rinds
    and those irritating pips.
    And do inform chef, no foreign muck
    and to make sure the salmon is unsmoked,
    smoked salmon and lemon, uncivilized!
    Unheard of, I tell you.
    And God forbid, if served on anything other than silver,
    l shall scream.
    Do you hear me?”
    “I do, madam.” Replied the waiter.
    “Good, off with you then.” She snapped,
    whilst lighting a slender, slim-tipped Davidoff,
    seized between her burgundy coated lips.
    Her effort successful and when realized,
    exhaled, pouted and extinguished the lambent stem
    with a deft puff; aware, cautious and determined
    in keeping ash-free her legendary silk dress,
    often the focus of many an afternoon tea gathering.
    Such gatherings, once the highlight of one’s day.
    A quotidian ritual, herself, a most ardent sipper,
    and considered by many, the grandeur
    of such social occasions.
    Who, when called upon, no matter what,
    always delivered with zest milled exuberance
    and the accorded pleasantries,
    to solve, enhance or decorate
    any situation, as needs must and wants demand
    and as always, handled with class,
    decorum and quaint properness.
    Leaving all and sundry
    who sought her assistance
    for pleasure or otherwise
    mid the silverware, bone china,
    pastries and scones,
    in jolly good spirits.
    A most admirable quality
    as was her loquaciousness,
    never, not even for a moment, dull,
    in keeping with her outlandish dress sense,
    prowess in the bedchamber
    and her legendary rumour-mongering.
    As for her resolve, not unlike
    her blue-tinted perm,
    ever steadfast, no matter the prevailing winds.

    Sadly, unforeseen circumstances intruded
    and that most splendid of traditions
    was abandoned some months past.
    Until today, that is, it being such a beautiful day,
    she decided to resume
    that, which she, so very much enjoyed
    prior to the, afore mentioned, interference.
    A spur of the moment decision,
    as was her way,
    leaving her with no time
    to offer invitations to her flock.
    She would have to wing it alone.

    As etiquette dictates and she,
    its most obedient servant,
    was observed, turned out,
    in compliance with the
    dress code for an afternoon’s excursion
    into the leisures of tea-sipping and dainty-nibbling,
    though, perhaps a tad over ostentatiously so.
    A collage of pearls, pendants,
    plumes and a pretty-in-pink parasol
    accessorising her meager physical enticements
    into stately pomposity,
    topped off with a generous plastering of maquillage,
    befitting Madame de Pompadour herself,
    and all this, in a rich silk dress,
    embroidered with a flourish of
    Chinese peonies, precariously flaunted on
    a pair of, three-inch high stilettoes
    with a three-figure price tag.
    She was to be splendidly complemented upon
    if one were to stray into her
    perfumed drenched purlieu,
    where she was displayed,
    sitting blushingly plump
    at a table dressed for two.
    A hoary, blue-tinted socialite
    amongst a ghastly scattering
    of low browed, ill-mannered diners
    and to her abhorrent dismay,
    a seating of dusky-hued foreigners.
    “How utterly awful!”
    Seventy-four years of airs and graces,
    waited upon, pampered and now, afternoon tea
    on the veranda of her favourite hotel.
    Were it not for the hoi polloi,
    bliss would have been perfected.

    “To return after a few months’ hiatus
    and now this, this lot,
    what is the world coming to?
    Whoever allowed the common herd entry, is beyond me.
    Must ruffle the flock and make known
    to management, one’s profound displeasure.”
    She, vexing to herself.
    Till then, defended her table,
    armed only with intentional disregard
    to all outside her haughty dominion.
    Stood her ground in highbrowed conspicuity,
    Davidoff plumes
    and mutterings of disgust,
    focusing mainly on the dusky interlopers.
    Who obviously necessitated no appreciation
    or had any comprehension
    whatsoever as to the formalities or graces
    associated with the stately
    modus operandi of afternoon tea.
    “Tut-tut-tut.”
    She tut-tuted to herself.
    Continuing, in silence, her detest
    whilst awaiting one’s treats.

    “I’ll play mother.” She demanded,
    when the waiter arrived,
    slapping his hand away from the teapot,
    an unsavory trespass,
    somewhat dusky, himself.
    She, alone, would pour the tea
    and did so with composure
    albeit lacking grace,
    a consequence of age.
    Four lumps of sugar
    plink-plonked from a pair
    of silver-plated tweezers
    and with a raised pinky
    poured from a silver-plated jug
    a trickle of milk,
    liking her tea, hot,
    very hot
    and stirred clockwise
    with her right hand
    whilst holding a pair of
    handheld spectacles in her left,
    through which, scrutinized
    the three-tiered display
    of afternoon niceties,
    as usual, in frowned silence
    until satisfied that everything was,
    as instructed and to her pleasure.
    Contented;
    dismissed the waiter,
    “Off with you then!”
    “Of course, madam.” He replied,
    as would a lamb obey a wolf.

    Her first choice of deliciousness
    was a delicately layered pastry,
    politely picked from the lowest tier.
    As was her custom, always dined
    from the bottom, up.
    The top tier usually the sweetest,
    dessert, as it were.
    Herself, having a sweet tooth
    as evident in her triple chin,
    puffed jowls
    and strained corset.
    Biting off a morsel, during which,
    holding a napkin beneath her three chins,
    to keep crumb-free her legendary silk dress.
    Her burgundy-bloated lips never parting
    as she patiently chewed, allowing the flavours
    to release their delectable secrets.
    The chef’s skills overwhelming her taste buds
    with a palette of scrumptious mysteries.
    She paused, oohed and
    declared with shrilled enthusiasm,
    “Oh, this is absolutely delic…”
    when realising, her husband,
    that unforeseen circumstance
    now four months into rot,
    downed in a hunting accident
    when the boar fought back,
    and there, facing her, she found herself
    talking to an empty chair
    on the veranda of their favourite hotel
    whilst the boar remained at large.

    Her Ceaser, his Throne, their Empire.
    “Absit omen!” Beseeched her pathetic hopes,
    inwardly knowing, fantasy would not oblige.
    An ineffable feeling of loneliness befell her.
    As if plucked from one’s pleasure by
    the memory of another, now dead and buried.
    Chewing for solace but to no avail,
    the delicate pastry losing its flavours
    as the peculiarities of loss
    welled over the tiered array of make-believe.
    Striving, as inconspicuously as possible,
    to stave off the embarrassment of grieving in public.
    However, such was the intensity of her distress,
    her efforts were futile,
    eventually succumbing
    to the uncontrollable tears of grief.
    Unbecoming her demeanour,
    she faltered, the imperial dye
    laundered away in the wash of sorrow,
    etiquette violated.
    Alone, a lady of no companion,
    crying like a lost child desperate for affection.
    A weeping remnant
    of a once glittering society.
    Its Ceaser: her beloved,
    who now,
    but a gored corpse.

    Her inappropriately timed outpourings,
    gloat-fodder for the present peasantry,
    whose gawking intrusions made it
    so unbearably degrading,
    especially here, on the veranda of her favourite hotel,
    where afternoon tea was a truly delicious occasion.
    Such an appropriate ritual
    complementing a most gracious way of life,
    and now, for commoners, dusky foreigners and servants
    to bear witness to the, often hailed,
    much loved, doyenne of decadence,
    usurped by grief,
    destroyed in humiliation
    and not a friend when one needed most.
    Her pompous maquillage smudged to insignificance
    by the salty residues of a weeping heart.
    At a table dressed for two
    sat a miserable creature, forsaken,
    banished to the cold-hearted states of loneliness,
    displayed in naked vulnerability
    and a stained silk dress.
    And to think, the rumours will be unbearable.

    “There, there; it’s okay.” Whispered the waiter,
    rushing to her aid, placing his arm gently around her shoulders
    and she, leaning into his chest, crying, pleading,
    “Don’t leave me, please, don’t leave me.”
    “There, there; it’s okay.” He whispered,
    as he tried to calm the arrogant racist bitch
    pining relentlessly for her arrogant racist cur,
    as would a lamb lick the wounds of a fallen wolf.

  • #2
    Wow! Speechless!

    We build the castles in the air, indulge in our own perceived specialness, striving to accumulate more by any means. And yet, all will be taken away, ripped off from our flesh – the harder we cling, the more painful the parting.

    Comment


    • Tony Grannell
      Tony Grannell commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello Anatoliy, I am thrilled you enjoyed this one so and mighty kind of you to read and respond. Thank you very much. Do take care now, Tony.

  • #3
    -=)

    Comment


    • Tony Grannell
      Tony Grannell commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello amenora, -=). Regards, Tony.

  • #4
    Not to repeat AnatoliyS, but Wow! The way you tell a story, Tony! Not just the flow of the words, but the POV focus, the thoughts and feelings expressed, the zinging change at the end. Just, Wow!

    Comment


    • Tony Grannell
      Tony Grannell commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello Muttado, I do thank you very much for your lovely response, most kind of you indeed. Regards, Tony.

  • #5
    This is an AMAZING, ELOQUENT, EMOTIVE parable.

    Too many lexical gems to extract just a few.
    So well crafted!

    Comment


    • Tony Grannell
      Tony Grannell commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello Dwayne, Absolutely delighted you enjoyed this one and so very kind of you to respond. It is very much appreciated. Regards, Tony.
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