Alice Wondered

The carriage window was fogged up and the only thing I could see was bubbles of street lamps running across a distant moon.

I was terribly miserable but my state could not compare to my mothers. She huffed out, not from shortness of breath, but just to change my gaze from outside the blurry window to her scowl. Her lips smacked together before she said, in a most irritable, soothing tone,

“Alice, I had hoped you’d take more care in you attire. The Parsleys are a most formidable family.”

“With a family name like Parsley they should be rather different don’t you think?”

“You mustn’t be…not tonight.”

She had meant that I mustn’t be perfectly wretched by being perfectly Alice or as Lady Parsley had rather loudly whispered, perfectly odd.

I had not found any pleasure in our last meeting. Their daughter Harriet was a self serving, self righteous girl who hadn’t the slightest inclination to open her big, boring brown eyes and seek anything but her boring needle point life.

She said it was outrageous to think of such things, I thought it outrageous that one shouldn’t. I huffed a sigh of my own and let her be while I pondered wistfully sipping from a fine teacup.

Tonight mother expected us to get on like friends ought to, she wished for me to seek out men and say things with shy charm and talk from beneath my lashes and for heavens sake she wished for me to dance in this already restricting dress.

Thankfully I would challenge her ideals at every turn, and she would smile tightly, and I would return the same smile. She would carry on wordless until we made it home, for that I was sure. My mother reserved the right to call me odd herself but only in the utmost privacy.

I returned to staring out the window, imagining the wine, continuous dancing and twirling of overly embellished dresses. I wondered after an adventure I was determined to have, but strange blurry faces of cats and hats came to mind. Perhaps I was odd after all.

Written by ~ Stephanie Kentepozidis

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