Here is a story that was relayed to me many years ago via a friend, who heard it from a friend, who heard it… and “no”, I am not plagiarizing REO Speedwagon; although I personally dig their tunes. Anyway, this friend told me about this young woman, of meager means and background, who had made the acquaintance of a young man who was apparently quite wealthy, and he found her quite interesting indeed. As each day passed they both became fonder of one another. Neither seemed to be particularly concerned or tried to offer excuses for their vast differences in upbringing, cultural imbalances, or lack of knowledge for one another’s class status. No, there was none of that. They were enthralled by their laughter, overcome by their joy, cocooned within; for while in each other’s arms the rest of the world was but a faint hum behind the rapture of their beating hearts.
After being together for a bit longer they decided that it was time they should meet one another’s parents. The young man insisted that she have dinner with he and his parents first as he could not wait a moment longer for his mother to meet her knowing she was just the kind of girl she would want him to fall in love with. The beautiful sky in his eye agreed and dinner plans were made in short manner.
Soon after consulting her dashing knight on the proper attire for such an occasion she was informed that a dress fitting appointment had already been arranged and purchased for her as gift from his loving parents to mark the occasion. The subject of the young girls financials had already been curiously broached by the young man’s parents of course. Even though she was not replete with endowments, he assured them that in beauty she was without equal, her manner elegantly indistinguishable from a Duchess of the highest order, and her moral character unquestionable. The parents were well pleased at these qualities and the adamant fervor with which their young prince had defended her lesser means.
Having such a fuss made over a simple dinner meeting seemed quite unordinary to the girl, but nevertheless she allowed herself to be indulged upon if this was to be the only way to enter her lover’s parent’s home without causing offense. A proper first impression should always be made. A lesson learned from a long passed Grandmother who chewed tobacco.
The day finally arrived sunny and mild, and the vibrant new couple found themselves walking happily up the long walk way towards the arched doorway of a magnificent mansion where his loving guardians had already spotted them and were waving anxiously from the elaborately ornate entrance. The tall, distinguished, square shoulders of the father in a dark suit played backdrop to the floral pattern of his much smaller wife in her summer dress. A picture of happiness and success complete with a tiny, tea-cup sized Yorkshire terrier clutched tightly in Mothers one un-waving arm. Once they were close enough to embrace, the small pet; “Sugar” as it was named, was placed gently on the ground where she immediately began to prance and leap around the heels of the young girl. Laughter ensued and introductions were quickly made as the pretty young woman, after being forced to absorb an over-abundance of compliments on her attire was finally welcomed into the lavish home where the love of her life had been raised.
After walking down a long corridor of a hallway they exited the home into the back yard which stretched almost as far as the eye could see, enchantingly manicured gardens were abundant and our heroine, for the first time became ever so slightly nervous about being surrounded by such an opulent environment. After about an hour of refreshments and polite conversation about nothing really, they were politely interrupted and informed that dinner would be served in the Main Dining Room by a gentleman that she could not believe was anyone other than a direct descendant of Alfred Hitchcock! This was certainly more than she had envisioned when her young man mentioned in passing that he and his family were “well off”. Until today she had always believed that “she” was well off. She felt as though the bar had been raised while she was not looking.
With a deep self-assuring breath, and her new doggy friend at her feet, she smiled reaching her hand out to be helped up by her ever confident suitor who leaned in close as she rose and whispered knowingly that all would be fine, that these were only things and stuff that did not belong to him. She found these words comforting yet still felt as though she may never be able to relax in such a foreign atmosphere. Self-consciously she began to question whether she should even be here at all.
At dinner, things progressed fine as the mood became lighter, infiltrated by the spirits of wine that flowed too freely from bottle to glass, poured by a seemingly increasing number of new servants who simply appeared and vanished into the walls all with impeccable timing and skillful precision. Feeling a bit light headed and having reached the inevitable point where a restroom break was surely in order, and in an attempt to be as polished as possible she asked if she may be excused to the powder room. She was slightly taken back when directed upstairs and around several corners and down a short hall, fourth door on the left. She had not been prepared for such a practice in navigation just to locate a privy, but out of fear of seeming rude by asking his dear mother to repeat herself, she lifted her chair to push it back almost putting it down on the Yorkie that had adhered itself to her company ever since being placed upon the floor. She confidently excused herself and exited out into the huge home, “Sugar” following closely at her heals to the neglect of its owners call to return.
As she climbed the stairs she couldn’t help think of reasons why there would not be a restroom in the downstairs of this massive structure. Surely there must be one for the servants which would have suited her just fine. Having reached the top of the stairs she began trying to remember the specific directions that were given. There were three long hallways each with numerous doors, all closed. Was it left? Right? She considered speaking aloud to the dog and decided she had certainly exceeded her drinking limit now, and began to grow anxious for the facilities. She picked out a hall at random and began quickly, but quietly opening the doors on the left. She was certain the woman had said on the left. After she had opened every door in that hallway finding nothing but lavishly decorated bedrooms, sitting rooms and libraries she ran back to the top of the stairs and chose another hall repeating her steps only this time more franticly. The situation had gone from mildly annoying to downright urgent!
One, two, three, finally the fourth door on the left was opened to reveal a small sink, and a large vanity mirror. BATHROOM! Hastily entering at the same time she was hiking her dress she look expectantly about the small room for a toilet. There was none!?!? What was this?!?! It immediately dawned on her that when she had so delicately and politely requested a “powder room” she failed to consider that in High Society there must be a difference between a “powder room” and a “rest room”!
What was she to do!? With the tiny dog outside scratching and barking at the door she stood there on the brink of actual pain staring at the tiny basin used for washing ones face and hands. An array of delicate looking hand mirrors and expensive make-ups were purposefully arranged so that one could just sit down and address the beauty needs every woman of wealth surely faces throughout their grueling day. Determined to not look like a fool in front of everyone by returning to the dinner table after such a long time and asking for a proper toilet she resolved to relieve herself of this agony right there in the tiny ceramic sink. Climbing up onto the chair first to gain a higher vantage point she found the basin set too far back in the counter requiring her to climb all the way up onto it in order to position herself properly. Turning on the water, confident that that sound coupled with the yapping dog would conceal her un-lady-like actions she planted her feet squarely on the marble surface and this dear reader, was the last instance of her remembrance.
Her very next realized moment consisted of waking up and staring lazily into a foggy, high, muraled ceiling as if stirring from a dream. Her eyes cleared slowly as she heard the sound of her new life companion beckoning her to respond, gently tapping her hand while holding a cool towel to her forehead which she was becoming aware of throbbing painfully. Sitting up she realized she had been lying prone on a couch covered with a quilt. Not understanding the circumstances of her condition she looked questioningly at her man who explained that after she had been gone so long a maid was sent to see if all was well. The maid quickly returned to say that she had fallen into a marble towel rack and was unconscious.
Her mind made quick recovery as she remembered what she had endeavored to do. Her boyfriend continued to explain that the marble counter top had pulled away from the wall and had apparently knocked her off her balance thrusting her forward into the towel rack with enough force to render her immobile. He also had to confide, hesitantly, that given the evidence it was clear to all what she had been attempting. She looked at him questioningly, seeing his blurry parents behind him across the room and catching a brief look of consternation in his mother’s fleeting glance. What evidence? Recognizing her confusion he cast a beckoning stare at the blanket that covered her. She drew it back in horror to reveal that despite being knocked completely unconscious she had continued to carry out the goal she had set out to accomplish. Her dress, which had been light lavender, a subtle solid shade of a single color now bore an unmistakable, deeper purple center.
Shrieking as she wrapped herself tightly back into the blanket hiding her face as she ran through the house tearing through the exit and bolting down the driveway to where they had left the car. Inconsolable, despite the best assurances that all would be forgotten in time, she was driven home. Jolting from the car without a word she ran into her home and was not seen or heard from for many weeks by anyone. Her first true love left alone to dread her absence. Friends had heard nothing, calls were unanswered, letters left stuck in the outside door, unread. After some time, and many failed attempts, he finally convinced her to open the door one day after hearing her inside so that they could talk about how they could get passed this unfortunate affair, for he promised her that his feelings towards her had not changed, and only after knowing she was alright did his parents find the whole instance quite surreal, and found her tenacity endearing.
After much petting and pruning of her feathers she was finally convinced to return to his parent’s home so that all could be forgotten, or at least laughed about so that they could continue their blissful relationship. The condition being that this time it would be much less formal, and that she could wear whatever she liked. All were in agreement and another dinner date was set.
Arriving at the mansion the two were met with equal effusiveness by the parents as if nothing had ever happened. An attempt to apologize was waived off as unnecessary by the mother as she embraced the nervous girl and invited her, once again into the home; all this to the happy yapping of “Sugar” who seemed most excited to once again see the lovely girl. Dancing and prancing around her feet as though her rightful owner had returned.
Dinner was soon announced and everyone enjoyed their meals and once again drank wine to loosen the mood. Once tongues began wagging and several stories were told the young lady once again found herself over-indulged and needing a restroom. Determined not to make the same mistake again, and throwing etiquette to the wind she smacked her hand on the table and demanded in a masculine voice ‘Alright, I need to know right now; where’s the pisser?” a term for the WC fondly used by her chaw spitting Granny. A brief moment of pause gave her cause for alarm feeling immediately that she had gone a bit too blue for these Blue Bloods until, to her relief, all three of them burst into uncontrollable laughter. Once again it was the mother who gave the simple, and direct instruction; “Use the one straight across the hall, dear. There is a nice strong sink in that one.” This of course caused another round of unsuppressed laughter that echoed throughout the mansion. She was truly relieved to see that her beau was not simply placating her wounded pride, but that her parents actually did find no fault in her former behavior.
The raucous laughter was very fortunate for our newly redeemed one indeed, for as she raised her chair to push it back a momentarily loss of balance caused her to sit back down hard on her seat much to the ongoing delight of her newly won over crowd. Finding success on her second attempt at standing she gave a dramatic curtsey to her amused audience. Deep into her bow she opened her eyes to discover that she had unknowingly staggered back upon “Sugar” the beloved family Yorkshire, having brought one leg of the chair down upon the sleeping dog’s tiny neck killing it instantly.
Rising to see the laughing faces she instantly recognized that no one had noticed the tragedy. Maintaining her composure she continued smiling as she placed a hand on her true loves shoulder and slid it lovingly around his neck as she passed around the long table. Entering the hallway, instead of going straight she silently turned left towards the exit. The large door frame seemed to get farther and farther away as she drifted like a pillow feather being pushed by an invisible breeze along the floor towards the door as she became smaller and smaller. By the time she reached her destination she was so minute that she merely walked upright beneath the now enormous, heavy door without ever touching her throbbing head on its bottom. Once outside, she closed her eyes and a sudden gust of wind filled the old dress that her Grandma had made her before she was even big enough to wear it and lifted her high up into the sky and she was never heard from again.
© Copyright 2016 JOgrefoln. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Non-Fiction
Short Story / Literary Fiction
Essay / Editorial and Opinion
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