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All the Time in the World
Everything is polished to the point where it is slightly startling. The floor would ensnare Narcissus with its gleam. The only source of light is the soft glow from candles and a strip of moonbeam that has managed to maneuver itself through the stars to reach the ballroom. Shoes click against the marble, ladies in large dresses flounce about, hoping to attract the attention of a Tom or Dick. The event is permeated by the smell of meats and cheeses, fruits and breads, sugary montronsities acting as a perfume for the air which would overwise smell of lust and sweat.
This entire gaudy ceremony is in honour of a young lady. Being an heiress, every man of a suitable age, and some not so, are fawning over the Lady Marisol. Dressed in blue silk gown to match her eyes and yet contrast with her golden skin. She is encrusted in sapphire and topaz. A circlet of lapis lazuli graces her brow, encircling her mess of golden curls. This is the girl I can’t stop staring at.
Me? I stand to the side. My dress would attract attention in any other setting. No fabric covers my shoulders, the only mechanism keeping my dress up is a string of pearls, acting as a halter neck and matching my tiara. Puffy sleeves shelter my arms, the same grey as the rest of my outfit, which are only there for decorum. The silver hue of the textile compliments my eyes of the same colour and makes my ebony hair and pale skin appear stark in contrast.
I assume I should make my presence known. I walk up to her.
“Lady Diana,” she greets me with a smile which would shame the sun.
“Lady Marisol,” I respond curtly.
A few more pleasantrees are exchanged before I turn away and avoid her for the rest of the evening. I wish I could say more, but there is just pain when I try. I turn away and prepare to live the rest of my life trapped by normality.
Bodies are everywhere, the music loud, the floor is sticky with the contents of spilled drinks, formulating their own cocktail on the floor.
I’m trying to avoid a man who would not stop staring at the laces keeping together the top of my black, formless dress. I’m decked out in my usual speakeasy attire, long necklaces swing down my body and a shimmering headpiece is stuck down to my hair sprayed curls, secured with horrendous amount of bobby pins.
My grey eyes meet blue ones across the room. A young woman, around my age, sits by herself at a table, nursing a cigarette, tapping the ashes off into an empty tumbler. A feeling in my stomach insists that I take a chair beside her.
“What is a pretty thing like you doing all by herself in a place like this?” I ask, looking down at her white beaded dress with diamonds that spark even in her inert state.
She lets out an unamused laugh.
“Waiting for a man who I just saw walk off with some brunette floozy.”
Another curt laugh.
“So, what are you doing here?”
“Trying to escape the ceaseless annoyance which is temperance.”
“This is weird but, I can’t shake the feeling we’ve met before”
God, she is still just as lovely as she was in my last lifetime. I want to reach across are small table and stroke her rouged cheek with my painted thumbnail.
“Agreed.” I say. The world is not ready. I’m not ready.
I’m sitting in a small book and tea shop, elevated above the city. Everything is painted with bright colours. Pinks that are limitless in potential, greens that did not let anyone stop them, blues which did not let the bastards get them down.
A large window provides a perfect view to the chaos happening down on a busy London street. While I sit here, sipping a cup of builder’s tea, I watch the vibrant rainbow world revolve around me, making the interior of this shop actually appear dull. A man wearing bright white angel wings holds another who is holding up a pride flag. For a few more hours, this city will be filled with people embarrassing themselves.
A girl stumbles into the shop. She is wearing a vintage shirt, distressed shorts, and a flower crown, making my long tulle skirt and black top appear formal. She makes eye contact with me and then…
I thought I had finally escaped those oceanic eyes.
I quickly shut my book and move to the stairs when I see her walking over to me with two pieces lemon cake.
I have always had a weakness for lemon.
I quickly find my seat again and she takes the one across from me.
“I saw you from the parade below, thought you looked quite gloomy, and decided to buy you some cake.”
“Thanks,” I respond timidly.
“What’s your name, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“What were you doing at the parade, were you there with your boyfriend?”
“No, I’m gay, here to spite my parents.”
“You know, I've always thought about going to one but I just never do.”
“What would you be representing?”
“Gay, bi, what?”
“Oh, I’m gay, never had to come out though.”
This is the most I’ve ever said to her in any life. The safety net of historical precedent vanishes right as I am falling. The excuse has always been there, act on your feelings and face horrific consequences.
“Do you want to come back outside with me?” she asks hesitantly.
Normally this is where our meeting ends.
But not this time.
She takes my hand and leads me through the door and down the staircase.
I’m still falling and have never felt better.