Chatterbox: Waiting Fulfilled

Monday, December 22, 2014

Tommorow is what my siblings fondly dub "Christmas Adam," which means it's also the perfect time to write a Chatterbox. This one's a stand-alone (drat, here we go again); I hope you enjoy it.

Waiting Fulfilled

Your mem'ry's fading
Bright crocus leached of color
I have lost your warmth

Her eyes were bronze.
Not the bronze of the tribes, or their hammered breast-plates, but the bronze of the gypsy's bracelets and the ghost of the sun after it's just set, and the sliver of reflection on a pool at that time too; more alive. Her face was colored this way too, but freckled; and the darkness of her brows and lashes set steep contrast to it, casting shadows that matched those resting beneath the cheekbones of her broad, chiseled face.

"Nina," someone said, and a shadow moved in the corner of the white tent. "It is nearly time." 
Her narrow nose lifted contemplatively, but she did not turn to face the man. Her eyes were yet downcast; even the glint of the lantern did not catch the bright discs, for they were covered, hidden. 

"You will be ready?" the man continued, for it was a man, creeping cautiously towards the table at which she worked. It was widely arranged with powders, brushes, pigments - all women's territory he did not understand, all curious and wonderful in the slender, bronzed hand of Nina. 

"I will be ready as I am always ready." Her lids still sheathed the eyes like they were weapons; still her gaze held back, unreachable, locked on some bright object on the table beneath her fingers. The man backed away, bowing and nodding in turns.

"Of course, my lady." He ducked from the room.

At last, peace! Her eyes turned up to the glass, but though she was more at rest with the lackey gone from the room, her face showed little change, but that her eyes were not hidden now. Across in the reflection, she caught the bronze and noticed it was dull; there was something missing. Dark hair cascaded long and straight about her face, but the little pieces framing it followed the curve of its shape, and hugged the hollows like shadows, making a firm outline of bronze-on-black. 

Quickly her fingers stepped over other pans and pigments until she found a deep plum-red, meant for lips. Her little finger stuck adeptly in the pot and swept it over her lips and left a thin, dark stain. Across her cheekbones she dusted white-gold, and through her brows a rich brown. Her hair she parted down the middle, and tucked behind her ears. Time passed; she sat still.

"My lady?" It was grown lighter outside now, and the lantern would no longer be necessary. She took the handle of the thing, and blew it out, ignoring the little man and staring at her reflection for a long time, seeing and not seeing. The sky grew light and around her the yellowy tent flaps showed the outer blue, then gold then - white - still, her eyes did not brighten and her complexion looked lacking. Men ushered her from the vanity stool to the outer portion of the tent, to a small cushion in the room's center, and still her eyes were dull, but now again they were hidden from view. 

The tent flaps fluttered in the breeze, and all were silent; all watched and all waited for they did not know what was to come, and those who did knew well enough to keep closed their mouths at such a solemn time. The sun was nearly risen now; the breeze that danced the tent-flaps brought it in, and the warmth fell on the face of Nina but her eyes were downcast, and they could do nothing for her. Just now, just now, they seemed to whisper. Any moment, and it will be time.

All at once the hushed silence died, and a true silence was felt as the jink of horse-things could be heard outside the tent just then. Every ear seemed strained to hear the musical sound. Her heart clenched within her, but her face showed no change, and on the bright object within her brown fingers Nina still stared.

"Nina." It was a man's voice that came in with the sunshine and the breeze and the blue sky, and it seemed to be a part of it, at home with it, sweeping through the tent as it may have swept across the open desert sands. Slowly, her chin raised, slowly, her cheekbones lifted and caught against them the sun's golden glow in a white reflect - slowly, her eyelids opened. 

"Elpidios." Her lips formed his name; and it was so, for he was her hope. Deep within the bronze circles emblazoned a tinder-bright flame.

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