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The Invite Said, ‘and Guest’

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She caught the attention of the swayers and side-steppers
And briefly the banter of the aristocrats came to a minor pause,
as they rose their champagne glasses in recognition.
Murmurs then became un-muted. Someone commented on her dress,
“My, what an audacious choice of attire. But, she is young.”
She reluctantly bit her tongue.
And then the volume of idle conversation changed from one to ten,
she was forgotten almost as instantly as she was acknowledged, and then
she descended the stairs, and the sound of her heels
rapped the marble tiles out of tune to the orchestra
(her entrance had interrupted an intense discussion of Cristal and caviar).
She relished in that short moment of disturbance…
And so she surveyed this crowd of sophistication, clad in black and white
(extravagance and refinement were seated here tonight!)
Nothing adorned their faces, but she knew this was a masquerade.
Every gentleman here had their lady on parade.
She weaved her way in and out of tables and chairs,
feigning disinterest in the spinning movements of cavorting couples
but as a man approached his fiancé, and wooed her to dance
she stopped and allowed herself one look. Just one look.
Said an older woman beside her, “Oh, wasn’t he so charismatic?”
She knew his charm was programmatic. His smile automatic.
Nevertheless she said “Oh, yes…” and gave a courteous smile.
She refrained from spelling out f-a-l-s-e, but meanwhile
that older woman held the hand of an older man
(both shared wrinkles in the corner of their eyes).
“Something about you, dear, seems out of place…”
Suddenly feeling under scrutiny, she strayed from the ballroom floor -
escaping to an outside balcony while they danced, and dined
leaving the etiquette behind.
They were all focused on romance, especially their own.
But hadn’t anyone seen she had descended those stairs alone?





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