Il Masque

In response to Sonia G. Medieros‘ October Flash-Fiction challenge: Masks.

I remember the first time I saw her. We were walking in opposite directions along Dearborn. She was going north towards Harrison, and I was going south towards Polk. I saw her through the ocean of lunch-time pedestrians. She shone like the sun, red and gold and radiant.

In a world full of Bautas, Donna Gattas, and Medico Della Pestes, she was a brilliant gold Luna Lux with crimson filigree and feathers.

The richness extended to her dress, a low-cut, off-the-shoulder scarlet affair that stopped just an inch above her knees. Stockings, heeled sandals, and full-length opera gloves of gold lame completed the ensemble.

I stopped and stared, awestruck by her beauty. She nodded politely but sweetly as she passed by, evidently well aware of her effect on men. I turned to follow her, but the press of bodies around me slowed me down and she turned the corner. As if someone had flipped the switch that controls the sun, the color and light went out of the world in that instant.

I spent every lunch for the next six months on that street, looking for her. There was no question of me simply missing her; with a face like that, she would be impossible. She was too vibrant, too colorful in a city of drabness, to miss. Six months I spent looking for her every lunch break, to no avail.

At work, I would search the internet for her. Surely she must be unique, I thought. The filigree, the tiny little ruby cluster dangling from from the gentle curve of the top of her face, the crimson feathers. Surely there couldn’t be another girl out there with a face that incredible. Looks like that were fairly common in Brazil and some of your larger Columbian cities, but all my searching turned up nothing in the States.

After a time, I began to despair. Then I grew angry. What right did she have to walk around just once, setting my heart afire, and then vanish. I stopped looking for her at lunch. I stopped searching the internet for her. In time, I was able to convince myself that I had forgotten about her. In more time, I was able to start looking at other women without comparing them too negatively to my phoenix-colored Luna Lux.

I began to date. Casually at first, but then I began spending more and more time with Susan, a cute little black-and-brown Gatta. After two years, we married. Another three years passed before we had our first child, and by that time I was a junior Senior Editor. We had moved out to the suburbs, and I took the L in to work each day. Our child was born in April, a sweet little Volto/Moretta in gray and silver with blue highlights.

Today, I had to pick my daughter up from kindergarten, as her mother was busy late with a client. And I saw her again, my brilliant Luna. She was a teacher at my daughter’s school. A few of her feathers had begun to droop, but she was still as beautiful as I remembered.

And that, officer, is why I may have had a little too much to drink tonight.

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5 Comments

Filed under Flash, Words words words - Writing and books

5 responses to “Il Masque

  1. Love the descriptions. So rich. And love that twist at the end. 😀

  2. Wonderfully written story, but you make it tough on an old redneck! I had to do some searches to find out what all those things were. Of course, I finally decided they were masks, which presented one of my famous “DOH” moments. I should have known that!
    Love the twist ending, too. Smacked me right upside the head with something I could understand after all the Luna, Bausta, Gatta stuff! Is it too, early for a beer?

    Here my first offering to this little masquerade:

    http://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/the-old-man-and-the-mask/

    • MichaelLyons

      *grin* Thanks Charles.
      Hey, don’t feel bad. I had to look up the names of those masks also. The research for this little story took longer than the writing did. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Extending the October/November Writing Challenge: Masks | Sonia G Medeiros

  4. Birds, then cars crossed my mind before I read the comments. Lovely. Robin

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