Queen on her Throne

Story written by AlexScribe on Wednesday 31, May 2017

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Regarding books and covers and such.

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She sat on the bench regally, as if she owned it, but I slumped my sweaty self down on the other end anyway. The brief welcoming smile she tossed me displayed no reproach; she was far too refined for that. For distraction more than from curiosity I studied her openly (perhaps in a futile attempt to disconcert her, to ruffle that perfect composure; I was in that kind of mood). She was small and slender, but naturally so, not the shrinking of age despite her seventy years – maybe more. She'd never had to sweat and starve to maintain her figure! I noted white hair untainted, cut short and soft in a style that should have been far to young for her but wasn't; lightly tanned skin with a patina of fine wrinkles, antique porcelain, crackled not cracked; dark brown eyes that gazed with tolerant amusement at two small boys trying to outrun their unleashed dog. Even in repose, her distinct features hinted at an inherent strength only slightly blunted by waiting a lifetime in reserve. Her small, neat hands, ringless, nestled quietly in the lap of a plain, dark gray skirt which, with her simple white blouse, could equally have come from a Paris runway or bargain basement. She sat proudly erect yet utterly relaxed. At peace. Serene with the unconscious elegance that bespoke money. Not new or ostentatious, but old, comfortable money. A birthright that allowed her to float calmly through life as though it were merely one long canoe ride along a shallow stream on a fine spring day, confident that, should the canoe overturn – not that it would dare with her aboard – but even if it should, in water scarcely a foot deep she risked at most soaked shoes and a dress in need of cleaning: the epitome of tragedy in lives such as hers where disaster consisted of conflicting theater invitations or an unpaired dinner guest. What could she possibly understand of the problems that infected my world? How after scrabbling desperately to escape poverty, prejudice, and ignorance I had finally attained this... this meaningless tableau of despair where nothing mattered, frozen in a career going nowhere and a "relationship" tagging along for the ride. We seemed barely of the same planet, let alone the same species. She raised her arm gracefully and glanced at the slim silver watch on her wrist, then looked over her shoulder at the street behind us and rose carefully to her feet just as a horn sounded. As she passed, she reached down and gently patted my shoulder, murmuring in a sympathetic voice, "Persevere, child, persevere." Self absorbed, the glimpse took a moment to penetrate; then I heard a car door slam and twisted around barely in time to see a modest sedan pull away from the curb. But it had been no illusion. By accident or design, as she stretched to touch me the sheer fabric of her blouse pulled taut against her forearm and the autumn sun revealed, just for an instant, the faded row of blue-black numbers crudely tattooed there. The End

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    Well done.
    Very well written and executed. Excellent.