Through the Looking Glass

February 19, 2012
By wickedmagic BRONZE, Chesapeake, Virginia
wickedmagic BRONZE, Chesapeake, Virginia
3 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"If you mess up with something. Stop. Don't discard it. Something good, original, and unexpected will come out of it."

Dressed all in white, with the exception of a red and blue sash, they strode down the street. All were straight-backed, eyes flicking this way and that, smiles plastered onto their faces. Hair of all colors was meticulously pulled back into a tight bun, hidden underneath hats to protect their delicate skin from the sun; skin of different colors shone under the hazy light of the clouded New York sky. Their stride was filled with confidence and determination; each of them was a breath-taking sight, filling the eyes with an excitement that tickled the spine. Clasped in their elegantly gloved hands were signs scrolled with the letters that empowered their wants, American flags that fluttered with grace, and bouquets sprouting the colors of independence, freedom, and the rights of the people. Crowds fabricated of men and women alike, cluttered the streets, some in a disposition at the spectacle before them, others wanting nothing more than to join the throng that gallantly proceeded down that cluttered, rocky pavement.

Atalanta, awed by the extravagant spectacle before her, pressed her petite palm against the pained glass. Her face was a mere inch from the panel; her eyes glued to the women below. Unlike other children of her age, she understood what these women were doing; she had experienced her own hard-ships due to the divorce between her mother and father and had watched enough women stride down the busy street, vociferating out phrases such as, “Let us vote!” or “Equal Rights!” to know that they were gallantly striving to achieve their goal. The young girl knew that these women had seen past the daily chores of the domestic wife, understood that they were being treated unfairly compared to the men, understood that, in this world, they possessed nothing. These women wanted freedom; they wanted to be treated equally next to their counterparts. Those who walked down the street before Atalanta were a whole new breed of women.

The child stared, so entranced with the happenings before her, that she did not notice that her mother had entered the parlor. “Darling, what are you doing,” asked the gentle, yet compelling voice from behind the thin, pale lips.

The young girl whirled around, her dress swishing and enveloping her small frame as it quickly jolted with the sudden movement. “I’m watching the women,” Atalanta declared shyly, her eyes quickly looking towards her mother and then, longingly, out to the street below. A smile crept onto the older woman’s face and, stepping lightly, she strode over towards her daughter, crossing the parlor in small, leg-suffocated steps—her flowing skirts restricting her movement. Pressing a slim hand to her daughter’s shoulder, she gave it a gentle squeeze.

“It’s quite beautiful, is it not? Women having the courage to defy what they had been taught since a child. Each of them has a different reason to fight, yet they have all joined together in such a cause? Breath-taking, don’t you think, Atalanta,” Her mother asked the enthralled, younger girl. Bending down, her dress extending and swishing around her, the older women embraced her daughter into a protective cocoon. “Would you like to go and see it? Would you like to see them in action? Defying the men’s world without a care? I will take you with me now.”

The little girl’s eyes brightened as she upturned her head towards her mother’s waiting gaze. With a bright smile, lit across her face, she shook her head repeatedly. “You will take me with you? Truly,” The young girl asked, her voice a shrill as excitement enfolded her petite frame. In response, her mother nodded, standing up into her, once more, towering build. Extending her hand, Atalanta grasped it tightly, ready to see the world with new eyes; ready to clear the haze that the males had shaded them with.

Together, the two walked out of the room, leaving the view of the women behind them. Mother and daughter were about to share an experience that shocked the country; leaving behind the world they had once known. This uncommon pair, like others, was affected by the women’s wants to live in an equal world, where they could determine the way their lives traveled and how extravagantly they lived it. Atalanta’s mother wanted her daughter to live in a world where she had the right to vote, the right to decide when she would be married or reproduce; she wanted her daughter to know that she had the security to be able to hold her own property and to take custody of her children in the future. She wanted to give her daughter the opportunity of a lifetime; to live a life that her mother could not provide her with, due to the harsh and unequal treatment that the men granted them.

Stopping in the threshold, Atalanta took one more longing gaze out the window. She was about to step away from an innocent life-style, leaving the times of staring out the fogged window, yearning for the day when she could join the throng and participate in the change that society was facing, behind. She was living in the realm where the men were dominate and controlled how women were supposed to act with an iron fist. Just as Alice had done, Atalanta was ready to escape into the alternate world that she could see through the looking glass, but unlike the older girl, Atlanta was not returning to the present time. This was her chance to tempt freedom and to hold that precious gift in the palm of her hand.

With a childish, yet loving smile on her face, Atalanta murmured just a few words. “So this is how times have changed…”

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