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The Opera This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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In the summer she wore her gold dress to the opera and there were diamonds at her throat like solid tears. Beside her on the steps of the opera house stood her golden-haired husband in a night-black tuxedo, with coffee eyes that shot after each departing taxi.

But she was not on the arm of any man.

She stood alone, her wrap dancing upon the chilly evening wind, and they were both as straight as a pair of streetlamps, the man and the woman. They did not speak. Their eyes were fixed on the road, waiting for their turn to escape into a car that would take them back to East 50th Street.

He stood at her left. She drew her wrap around her right shoulder, blinking away the cold, breathing fog into the air. Oh, how she wanted to step closer to him! How she wanted to wrap her arms around him and kiss him, their lips warmer than the night, warmer than the sun. How she wanted to hear the low chatter of the crowd as their kiss grew deeper. She closed her eyes and pressed her lips together. She swallowed.

Because she was not on the arm of any man.

She stole a glance at him without turning her head, her fists clutching at the shimmering silk of her dress until it was sweaty and wrinkled. He stared blankly ahead, his hair tousled by the wind. He did not see her, her dripping golden dress and shoe-button eyes.

The night bit through her wrap and she shivered, sniffling. Cold, always cold, she thought. Always, always cold. She watched taxi after taxi arrive, receive passengers, and then bolt into the night. Spitting hot smog into the velvet blue air. She wondered what he was waiting for. Standing tall and resolute, watching over the crowd with his coffee eyes.

Then, he sprang into motion.

Hands in his pockets, tripping over himself in the way of a boy, he approached Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Woodshire. Mrs. Woodshire's white-gloved hand clutched at her husband's arm and she leaned into him. But her eyes darted from man to woman, from couple to couple. She turned her head, and as she caught sight of the golden-haired man, her face flickered with light and her red-painted lips crept into a smile. His eyes sparkling, he shook Mr. Woodshire's hand, and kissed Mrs. Woodshire's white glove.

Not her hand, her glove, thought the golden-gowned woman who remained upon the steps.

Mrs. Christopher Woodshire gave a little bow, and her lush fudge-colored curls swung forward around her face. Her eyes flickering, flickering. Always like fire. And she spoke to him with the trill of an opera singer on her night off. Her voice carried back to the woman who waited on the steps of the opera house. “You must join us for dinner,” she said. “We're going to that lovely restaurant on Mad.”

And the first woman, the original woman, drew her wrap around her. Shivering, always shivering. She spun around, scrambling up the steps, plowing through people, and ducked behind two stout men in navy-blue suits. They both glanced at her, but then returned to their conversation.

She peered out at the three of them. The Woodshires stood beside each other, her hand on his arm. And the golden-haired man faced them, looking at the ground. All seemed confused, craning their necks in all directions. The Woodshires stepped closer to the lone man, their arms outstretched, as if caring for a sick child.

The first woman edged away from the pair of stout men, her eyes fixed on her husband. She descended one step, treading only upon her toes, as if the ground were alight with fire. He was looking in her direction, his eyes resting on all that surrounded her.

But he did not see her.

“She must have gone,” he said to his shoes. Then he straightened up, clearing his throat. “These taxi cabs can just whisk anyone away. It only takes a moment.” Mr. Woodshire clapped him upon the shoulder.

“Don't blame yourself, son. Women can get quite weepy after an opera. I'm sure she's all right.” Mrs. Woodshire gave a little smile, artificial pity darkening her eyes.

“It's only a few blocks from here,” she said.

All three turned away, stepping into the blackness. She closed her eyes, imagining the way he looked as he walked away. His hands in his pockets, tripping over himself. His golden hair catching the light of the moon that hung in the smooth sky.

Tears sprouted in her shoe-button eyes.

But she did not weep.

Because she was not on the arm of any man.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 20 comments. Post your own!

icedLips said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 9:38 am:

Another profound piece. The use of old-style language gives a beautifully vintage feel, I want to study this in Literature classes!

~ icedLips ~

 
VintageFlapper This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 19, 2010 at 5:44 pm :
Thank you so much! What a nice comment. 
 
icedLips replied...
Dec. 22, 2010 at 11:29 am :
Lol, it's just.. This is so great. "The night bit through her wrap and she shivered, sniffling." Very realistic! I'm not joking when I say, this piece stayed with me. I kept thinking back to it the night I read it, and as a matter of fact it was the rememberance of this piece that made me see your reply! (I unticked 'Alert me when someone replies to my post') Because I came back on to re-read this masterpiece.
 
VintageFlapper This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 25, 2010 at 9:42 pm :
Wow, thank you!
 
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Shelly-T said...
Sept. 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm:
This peace is of great excellency!  The underlying meaning behind the words, and the symbolism, made it so interesting.  It is so profound, it keeps the reader thinking
 
VintageFlapper This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 11, 2010 at 12:58 pm :
Thank you so much for the compliments!
 
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Annalibelle said...
Aug. 19, 2010 at 9:17 pm:

I liked the way you started this piece, it could have lead into any genere, and the reader would contined to try and figure it out. In general, how this whole piece required some thinking was very refreshing. Many stories just spoon feed the reader info.

The tone and description are well done, and the moteif of "she was not on the arm..." gave it an air of mystery/antique/ folk tale. The  repition of other elements gave me goosebumps, the "coffee eyes" etc. Word choice was good as... (more »)

 
VintageFlapper This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm :
Thank you for the positive feedback! In this piece, I was striving to capture the emotional separation between the couple despite their physical proximity. 
 
Annalibelle replied...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm :
Thanks for telling, me. I really did love the intellegence of this piece.
 
VintageFlapper This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm :
Thank you so much!
 
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Jane_P This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm:
What a beautiful story, especially about the show-button eyes. I like how it communicates an emotional canyon between people, wanting to cross but unable to bridge. Very nice!
 
VintageFlapper This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 3, 2010 at 6:06 pm :
Thank you very much! 
 
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jmartins This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm:
I really enjoyed the writing in this piece, and how they were supposed to be so close and yet were so far apart. Really, great stuff :)
 
VintageFlapper! This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 29, 2010 at 4:53 pm :
Thank you! That was the conflict I was trying to get across so it's great to hear that it has stood out to a reader. 
 
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Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm:
BEAUTIFUL! I LOVE THE REPEATED LINE! Can you read my story Kenzie Keep Spinning (Parts 1 and 2 please) and tell me what you think? I really think you'll like it...it's kind of like yours in a way but it is different. Keep up the good work!
 
VintageFlapper This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 29, 2010 at 5:04 pm :
Thank you! I just read the pieces about Kenzie, and they are both so well written with such vivid descriptions! Great job!
 
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Amowyn said...
Jan. 8, 2010 at 10:35 pm:
this is gorgeous! i love the style, the descriptions, the plot, everything
basically, m'dear, you rock
 
VintageFlapper! This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 9, 2010 at 5:21 pm :
Thanks so much!
 
Megan96 replied...
May 29, 2010 at 3:21 pm :
I love this story! It's so touching, I just adore it!!!
 
VintageFlapper! This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 29, 2010 at 4:51 pm :
Thank you! That's such a nice thing to say!
 
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