The Meeting Rooms

January 9, 2011
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The hall was brilliantly illuminated by candlelight. Shadows flickered on the walls as dancers rushed past, feet drumming a rhythm into the floorboards. A fiddle sang loudly in the musky air, encouraging all to increase their pace. Laughter echoed off the high ceilings as friends were introduced and old ones were reacquainted. The room was packed to the rafters, leaving to the occasional torn dress or stomped toe, though no one much cared in the face of so much joy.

Disregarding the chaos, she plunges headfirst into the crowd. Her fingers find her partner’s and they joined in the madness with reckless abandon. She did not need to think to remember the steps; they were of a second nature by now. She relished in the cheery atmosphere as her gown floated above the floor and swished around her ankles. She caught the young man’s laughing eyes as she pranced around him.

The lively music ended and she made the customary curtsy to her partner, he himself already in a deep bow. He straightened after a prolonged moment and gestured to the outskirts of the room. He meant for them to ‘sit out’ as only committed couples customarily did. She felt the immense weight of judgement as she followed him to a seat, the eyes of many undoubtedly following them. Rumours of a betrothal would not be far behind them.

She surveyed her surroundings as he spoke animatedly to deaf ears. All those who were unfortunately unattached were only there to find a spouse, and those already married were there to assist others with the task. They were all politeness and calculated actions, as one wrong movement could leave them floundering. All pressured, all caged by the roles society had set for them.

Not her. She was free.





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