Jewel studied herself in the mirror, envious of her sister, Luna, who prepared for the party behind her.
She sighed as she stared at the dress her mother bought her; it was child-like. Jewel peered at Luna and her white freckle-less complexion. Instead of having lustrous golden-hair, Jewel was cursed with her grandfather’s ginger mane and speckled skin. I’ll never be a counterweight to Luna or those mean girls in my class.
Luna had style, while Jewel’s clothes were drab. The outfits her mother insisted she wear wouldn’t qualify as trendy. Emilia, had no eye for colors that corresponded to her daughter’s skin tone and hair. All Jewel wanted was to dress as fashionably as other girls.
She believed she was thewless compared to Luna, who shoved her aside, acting playful. She twirled her red gown in front of the mirror, and Luna’s skirt revolved around her perfect hips.
Jewel frowned. She was jealous of her sister. The pressure of living up to Luna’s elegance, and thinking about her mother’s treatment made Jewel’s head spin and her lungs constrict. She gasped for air and her heart beat sped. Luna noticed Jewel’s breathing and rubbed her back.
She was the only person who knew how much Luna despised her own appearance. “What’s wrong, Sis? Having anxiety? Relax, it will be fine. I left the mean girls from your class off the guest list.” Jewels chest and and hands unclenched.
“I keep telling you, you’re sixteen and you’ll grow into your beauty soon. Don’t let mother’s expectations bother you or those *itches from school. When I was in your grade, mean girls hated me too.”
Jewel nodded as the rest of her body calmed. “You keep telling me that my awkward stage is finite. But, I’ve always been gangly and plain.”
Luna smirked and grabbed Jewel’s hand as they sat on the bed. “No, you were a cute kid. Everyone thought so, and you’ll be a beautiful woman soon. You’re a late bloomer. Soon you’ll have boobs that rival those *itches in your class. Guys have a thing for red-heads, you know.”
“Mine’s ginger, not red.”
Luna squeezed her hand. “You’re beautiful as you’re are now. But I can’t make you see that. You have to believe that inside.” Jewel closed her eyes. She wished Luna’s words were true.
“You can’t keep postponing all of father’s parties or he’ll get mad again. One day you’ll believe you’re as gorgeous as I think you are. None of the women in our family are ugly or plain.”
Jewel shrugged. “I’m not ready, yet. Tell dad I’ll be fifteen minutes.” Luna hurried towards her door then halted.
She turned around and clasped her hands. “Jewel, wear one of my dresses. I have one that would be gorgeous on you. It’s not as trendy as the one you have, but the emerald green will highlight your hair and complexion well; your svelte figure too.”
Luna grinned and nodded. “I’ll talk to mom about letting me shop with you. Then, you and I can choose the clothes you like to wear. Mom can’t dress you like a twelve-year old forever.”
Jewel scrambled to Luna’s closet. She yanked out the emerald dress. “This one?”
“You bet. I always thought the color suited you better. You’ve got deasil, Jewel. Many excellent qualities on the outside and on the inside too; don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.”
Luna left and Jewel tore off her muted gown and slipped on the emerald silk dress. She zipped it up and was shocked to discover the shade made her skin glow. It complemented her hair too.
Her shoulders were bared and ruching at her chest enhanced Jewel’s cleavage. A bow on the gown sat above her bottom. To her delight, the dress was tight and ended mid-thigh.
Jewel grinned and borrowed a pair of her sisters heels. She flounced down the stairs. For once, was excited to attend one of her father’s parties. She couldn’t wait to see the expression on her mother’s face.
(Hello! Just noting this piece had a mind of its own and is somewhat longer than the usual 200 words. Cheers!)
“Closing time / One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer.” The mellow lines Semisonic floated into Tyrelle’s ears.
It was 2:00 a.m. and his friends, Jordan and Simone, were trying to shut their house party down, arranging places for closest friends to sleep and for others to catch a cab home. Tyrelle nursed his last drink for the night. As per usual, he was upset these days.
His beautiful Cleo should’ve been with him here tonight, ensuring he didn’t feel like such a recluse at his friends’ party. He hadn’t been in the mood for a party but since Cleo had ended things three-months ago, he knew he needed to move on.
More Semisonic lyrics played through from an IPad:”Closing time / Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.”
Tyrelle watched as Simone finally locked the front door. She peered at at him and moved to give him a short friendly back rub. “You still miss Cleo, huh?”
“Yeah, everyday. Does it get easier?” Tyrelle asked her.
Simone sighed, “Before Jordan, I was with Blake and I thought he was it. Then he broke my heart and for months after, I didn’t function well.”
“After a while I stopped thinking about Blake as much. I realized I resented the hold he had had on me. Then I chose to become involved in life. I volunteered and I saw more friends and family. Not long after, I met Jordan,” Simone said smiling.
Tyrelle smirked. As if what Simone said could ever be possible for him. Then he remembered the last line in the Semisonic song. About how other things had to end for better and new things to begin. So that’s what he decided to do — to begin anew.
He picked up his phone and blocked Cleo’s number. Tyrelle unfriended and blocked her on every social media. Tomorrow he would start going to a different gym location then Cleo to workout and he would go to a different grocery store by his condo to shop as well. Finally, he grinned, he would get a new haircut.
If you could choose your favorite place to get ready in the morning or when you’re going out to a party or special event, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a vanity area? Yes, I know for many women (and some men) this seems like a dream.
I would adore haveing a dressing table area where I could have all my makeup and hair tools, have everything organized well, and have my vanity area designed exactly the way I would like it to be designed to my unique preferences.
While modern vanity tables for women and shaving tables for men developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,beauty items such as cosmetic boxes, ointment jars, and perfume jars, were found in 1910, in “inlaid cedar cosmetic box[s]” in the tombs of Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh.
Madam Pompadour of France, however, was one of the first women of the aristocracy to perform elaborategroomingrituals. The french aristocracy had boxes called ‘Neccessaires’ which held perfumes, combs, nail files, and tiny scissors. Madam Pompadour (mistress of King Louis XIV (1638 to 1715)) aided the French king in developing the ‘toilette’ or beauty regime for both men and women in the royal court.
One fantastic example of an early vanity table was used by Marie Antoinette who had a dressing table specifically made to fit makeup items, writing implements, and a mirror. The piece was commissioned as she was due to give birth to her son and the vanity served multiple purposes also being used for eating and receiving visitors.
In the twentieth century, the vanity table developed significantly in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Glamorous Hollywood films made popularskyscrapers with luxuriouspenthouses and “femme fatale [movie] heroines.”
These starlets sat elegantly at their dressing tables which were streamlined in form compared to vanity tables of the past. Many women wanted to emulate these actresses and the vanity table became an essential piece of furniture for the modern woman.
Considering my dreamvanity andhow I would design it and the area around my vanity, I realized there are many vital factors to consider. What I ended up with was a mood board of decor items I would adore in a vanity area. You can find my mood board at the beginning of this post.
There are many aspects I considered when I thought about designing a vanity area. The first being what styleof vanity (the dressing table) I wanted. There is such a variety of styles of vanities to choose from but many are actually writing desks used as vanity tables, not the actual vanities which for instance, my great-grandmother Ida owned.
I tend to love antique vanities which have been repurposed.There is something curvilinear, ornate, and luxurious about the carving and details in the design of some antique vanities. What I love about repurposing old furniture, is that much of it is made from quality hardwoods, not cheap soft wood. Much furniture today is made of wood which easily breaks or splits.
Also, I would choose to paint my repurposed (or designed to appear antique) vanity my favorite color of light-blue. I would make it a feature piece of furniture in my bedroom and would paint the walls a neutral beige or gray with the same warm or cool hue found in the color blue used on the vanity. Below are three examples of vanities which caught my eye would be similar to my dream dressing table. I wouldn’t want such a roughed up quality to the paint but a nice sheen or solid color.
Another choice for my dream vanity would be to paint it with a pearlescent paint in a light sheen of bronze, gold, or silver. These dressing tables are more glamorous than the blue ones but would also retain a unique but more modern design such as the opulent vanities of the 1930’s.
A significant reason I chose antique vanities versus modern streamlined ones, has to do with my personal aesthetics and especially, drawer space. I think a vanity should have significant drawer space for you to put your makeup, hair tools, lingerie, or whatever else you would like to store in your drawers. My favorite vanities have both slimmerdrawers up top and larger deeper drawers on the sides. Storage is a major issue when choosing a vanity for yourself.
Many of the vanities pictured above have attached mirrors. I would be happy to have one of these mirrors refinished, but I also felt you could remove the mirror and hang a mirror with an interesting frame on the wall, behind your vanity. The mirror might be a little farther away from where you would sit, on the wall, but I don’t think this would be a problem if a person had enough natural and artificial lighting in their vanity area.
Another important detail to consider is the chair you sit on in front of your vanity. Whether you purchase a vanity that’s antique which you refinish yourself, or you find you like already refinished, you can replace what is often a small stool or bench, with a fancy and comfortable chair.
Especially if it’s for a special occasion, I prefer to have back support, personally, and be comfortable while I’m doing my makeup and hair. I want a cozy place to sit and a chair with a cushioned back and seat. Here are a few examples of chairs I like below, the gray one is my favorite chair; however, you can also find yourself a fancy dining chair, or some other kind of comfortable chair which matches your vanity and decor scheme.
Another aspect I would consider for a vanity area, if you have space, would be a soft but stylish chaise lounge near your dressing table. I would include this in a dream vanity area because a chaise lounge or sofa, would make you feel more at home and enjoy being in this space, even when you’re not preparing yourself for the day or an event.
A chaise lounge or a couch could be somewhere your significant other sits and talks to you while you’re getting ready, or your kids. It would also be a comfy and plush hideaway to read a book when you have the time, especially if you have a space with excellent natural light or a floor lamp nearby, as I would in my dream vanity area.
As well, it makes sense to have a plush chair of some kind here because a vanity area would be close to my closet as well, so I’d probably need something to throw clothes on as I try on several outfits or change out of my work clothes after arriving home.It’s also a place to sit on while you put on your shoes and zip up your tall boots.
I talked briefly about lighting but it’s one of the most significant aspects of all to consider, not only for aesthetics but because women require fantastic lighting when putting on makeup and doing their hair.
There is no substitute for natural light and in my dream vanity area, I would have many windows nearby. You never want to walk outside and see you’ve put on your makeup too thick for daytime or used the wrong color of foundation for the season so your foundation ends up appearing orange in the daylight.
In addition, having a chandelier or some kind of pendant light above your dressing table makes it the area appear more opulent as well as making it easier for a woman to see what she is doing at her vanity. A small chandelier, for me, makes the area all the more appealing. It aids in creating a space where would enjoy spending more time and I would probably be spending alot of time there, so I want a beautiful light fixture.
I had trouble choosing between three different light fixtures. On the Restoration Hardware website, I found this lovely light made of “tiers of translucent white capizshells” and I love the movement created when light shimmers through these iridescent shells.
Another especially favorite pendant light of mine is the flower pendant light from Arhaus. This light is gorgeous, unique, and sculptural. I think the “Italian glass” crystals hanging down would be perfect for a vanity area. This light fixture is superbly classy with this flower having “dark silver clay finish;” the artist in me adores it.
Lastly, I was drawn to another indoor/outdoor chandelier made from recycled glass andwrought iron from Pottery Barn. The glass circles made me think of bubbles and/or a pair of pretty dangling, bronze and glass earrings. I think for me interior design and fashion often overlap.
A third issue to consider with lighting is actual lighting where you sit at your vanity, on top your table. Here is the place where you or I would apply our makeup or remove it, perhaps along with our jewelry. I’m not a fan of those big bulbs that go around vanity mirrors, to me they’re a bit tacky (my opinion).
I think I would browse for some trendy table lamps which went with my decor scheme and weren’t too large. My thoughts are that they would appear classier and provide morenatural lighting as you can put light bulbs in lamps with more of a warm glow. One lamp might be enough, or you might prefer two, depending on how much space you have. There are a couple of different ones I liked and you can see them below. They’re both from Arhaus, here and here.
One final issue to consider with lighting and mirrors, is a having a magnifying mirror. Yep, the kind where you feel scared when you can see every mark or wrinkle on our face. While I hate that aspect of these mirrors, they can be helpful. They’re especially great when you’re plucking your eyebrows, getting rid of a few stray hairs, or when you’re trying to apply liquid eyeliner or any eyeliner for that matter.
I would buy one of these magnifying mirrors which lights up. It could sit on my dressing table top or be attached to the wall behind my vanity. I prefer one not on the top of the vanity since I need the space for other items.
Certain mirrors with LED lights can be moved closer or a farther away, whichever way you need. There are also various degrees of magnification. You can check out this magnifyingmirror below, from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Lastly, ensuring my vanity area is near plugins where I could easily plug in a power bar with more plugins for curling irons, a blow dryer, and my table lamps would be a must for my vanity area.
Now to tackle one the largest issues in my vanity area, having the best kind of storage for makeup, makeup brushes, hair devices, and any other products I store in and around my dressing table. A wonderful place for these organizational items is Bed, Bath, and Beyond because they have a ton of well-priced organizational items, many of which are also attractive for certain decor schemes. Home Sense is another excellent place for this.
A third place you might consider buying storage for on top of your vanity is an office supply store, as many of their lines for storing stationary work well for storing makeup and skincare products. You can also use decorated or lovely colored trays and special storage from any home store, these products are easy enough to find.
Hanging a few decorative shelves nearby to house some of your personal items, is also an option I would consider for my vanity area, along with this neat holder I found on Pinterest, which is specifically designed to hold your blower dryer, hair straightener, and curling irons and can be found at Home Depot and mounted on the wall. For specifically made to hold makeup organizers on top of your vanity, Amazon is an excellent place to search for these holders at a great price.
For makeup brushes my favorite storage solution is to find a pretty container, it could be a pencil holder a candle holder (whatever fits your brushes) or a couple of each, and fill them half-full with little rocks/beads or a similar vase filler. Stand your brush handles in these containers along with your mascara and eyeliners. Your brushes and makeup products will stay upright and it works superbly well. I would use the same method on my dream vanity table; however, any pretty container which stores your brushes upright along with eyeliners and mascara, works well as long as they suit your design scheme.
For makeup, you can also find some beautiful trays to put your makeup and skincare products on. Sometimes even trays with divided off sections, so it makes it easier to store certain items such as blush or lipstick. I prefer stylish storage for on top of your vanity, such as silver or gold trays, decorated or colored candle holders, and mirrored makeup supply/brush holders. Below are some photographs of these ideas I liked for my own vanity space.
It’s also helpful to find some see-through jars or containers to hold items such as Q-tips and cotton rounds, used for toner and taking off makeup (etc). For haircare products, a shelf that can fit hairspray, mousse, dry shampoo, and other taller hair products is useful with a shelf on top which leaves you with storage for smaller bottles of hair care products.
The last and hardest part of storage is finding containers which will fit in shallow top drawers and in deeper side drawers for a dream dressing table. Since I would like my vanity area to not look so cluttered, I would like it if most of my makeup could be organized in the top drawers at least.
It is possible to purchase makeup dividers which fit inside draws or find your own little baskets or boxes, which will fit different kinds of makeup. Makeup storage also depends on how much makeup you own and should still be keeping. Amazon is an affordable and easy place to find this type of storage.
Makeup storage also depends on if you want to store your makeup visibly on the wall or hidden (such as I do) in the drawers of your vanity. I prefer drawers, they appear so much neater than makeup storage in wall-mounted containers or on a magnetic board. I can close messy drawers if they need cleaning and if my makeup has dirty cases.
I believe in keeping a vanity top clean and clutter free as possible because it makes it easier for me to find what I need each morning before working or if I was Mom, for instance, before dealing with my children.
For me, I would only keep the makeup I use the most out and put everything else away. I would like the top to be clutter free so I have space to work and to display some of my prettier pieces of jewelry and perhaps perfume.
It would also like to personalize my vanity space with authentic artwork to my taste, which matches my decor in my vanity area. I have chosen some of my favorite watercolor paintings off of Etsy which work into the blue vanity scheme and have this Chanel, posh and classy feel about them. Also, I like how this spice wrack became the perfect place to store perfume and display bracelets.
I enjoy purchasing my artwork prints on Etsy because the prints you buy are less expensive and they are from local artists and small businesses. The prints are more unique than art you would find in most home decor stores. I would order the prints I’ve chosen off of Etsy and then visit Winners/Home Sense or the Craft store to find frames to put my art in.
I could choose to search for frames which are all the same style of frame or look for frames which are the same color. I believe what I would do is mix up frame colors and styles, have frames in black, gold, and silver, as long as they fit in with the vanity area them I’ve created and its ambiance.
For me, this would be my perfect dream vanity area; however, as you can tell, it’s difficult to choose precisely what pieces fit and what pieces don’t. Thanks for reading!
(I truly meant for this to be Flash Fiction, but the story just developed. Sorry about the way – over word count.)
Grandma June huffed at Natalie, her granddaughter visiting her at home.”You’re not getting any younger, you’re thirty-eight. You can’t barely have babies anymore!”
Natalie rolled her eyes at Grandma June,”Gran, I’m an elementary school teacher. I like going home and not having to worry about kids.”
June sighed,”It was that man, you were supposed to marry. He’s a thief and stole your heart; I’m right aren’t I?”
Natalie ignored June’s question. She hated when her Grandma or anyone, talked about Christopher. She’d never admit he was her one.
He hadbeen since she was in grade ten and Christopher an attractive senior in high school. It was when he had first asked Natalie out. They’d broken-up, having had incompatible lives with Christopher away at university soon after.
Then, seven-years-ago, they’d ran into each other and started talking and dating again. Natalie had convinced herself this was finally it. Sadly, a few weeks before the wedding, Christopher had disappeared; the memories were agony for her.
Two-week’s later, Grandma June called Natalie up to invite her to a wine and cheese night she was hosting for her neighbours. She had tried to decline but June was adamant Natalie attend.
She arrived at her Grandma June’s surprisingly lively wine party, in jeans and a white t-shirt. She had barely bothered to apply makeup as Natalie had come from the gym and was worn out.
“Oh you came,” Grandma June said excitedly, approaching Natalie as she let herself inside. She hugged June and kissed her cheek, as June poured Natalie a large glass of red wine and filled her plate with bread and cheese. She winked at Natalie and left her alone in a small sitting room to rest before joining the other guests.
“Natalie?” A deep voice said. She turned on the sofa towards the sitting room door. Christopher’s voice shocked her, she had almost doused herself in red wine. His familiar timber filled Natalie with great pain. She peered up at him feeling raw, as if he’d only left her yesterday without explanation.
Tears began dripping down Natalie’s cheeks; she was crying and couldn’t stop herself. Christopher immediately sat down on the sofa beside Natalie and pulled her close; he wiped her tears away with his thumb. She tried to jerk out of his arms, but he wouldn’t let her move.
“I’m not letting you go, ever again,” Christopher swore.”I can’t explain much about why I had to leave you, only that I didn’t have a choice.”
Natalie shoved him hard, “You have nothing more to say, nothing at all?”
Christopher was noticeably upset, “I told you I worked as an IT consultant. But I could never tell you or anyone who I worked for until recently. I worked for Special Forces in the army and I was called out to a job. It’s the only thing I can’t about. The job lasted years, and I wasn’t allowed to contact anyone. We saved countless lives, but it was awful what I did to you and being without you. I’m sorry.”
Natalie rubbed her swollen eyes, “You’re a liar Christopher. You could’ve mentioned something, anything. What do you want now? To stay for a while and then leave?To rip me apart again?”
Christopher buried his face in his hand, before gazing up at her: “I’m out now Natalie. I swear to you I work for regular businesses now, nothing to do with Special Forces or the army. I’ve no more secrets other than experiences of war and blood. I came back here for you, I even moved into a house on your Grandma June’s street. I hoped somehow, you and I could be together again. I love you.”
Natalie made a sound of frustration. Emotions of both anger and feeling relieved assaulted her. Despite her anger at Christopher, Natalie knew inside, there would never be another man for her but him.
To Christopher’ surprise, Natalie moved to sit in Christopher’s lap and be closer to him, to breathe in how delicious he smelt.
“Marry me now and we can do whatever celebration our families want later. I’m still mad at you Christopher but you’re it for me. I’ve always loved you and always will. If you can be with me and never leave me like that again, I can forgive you.”
Christopher nodded at Natalie, saying: “I promise.” He held Natalie tightly and kissed her lips hungrily.
Suddenly, there was a loud knock on the sitting room door and Grandma June walked in, a smile on her face. June’s boyfriend Nigel was with her and so was the local United Church minister.
Natalie looked at Christopher, “Did you do all this?”
Christopher shook his head, squeezing Natalie tight and kissing her cheek. He pulled out a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring set from his pocket. He slid the engagement ring on Natalie’s finger, and Grandma June handed Natalie a ring which had been her Grandfather’s wedding ring.
June smiled at Natalie and Christopher, a gleam in her clever blue-eyes. All was at it should be, she thought as her and Nigel witnessed her granddaughter’s wedding ceremony.
I’m so thrilled with Lady Gage’s new album. I love her dance and pop-music stuff but her new songs, some of them go deep. This is one of those songs and I used the lyrics “Angel Down” for this poem. What I love is how in the video she is live, and sounds the same as if you were listening to her on her new album. Talented singer!
She built her life, she built it strong, made it so —
It wouldn’t fall;but you can fortify —
The keep, make it so no one can slip in,
There are always cracks within perfection;
Angel Down, Angel Down.
You can see the lines forming before she breaks,
Memories from the past she thought would save.
She’s safe –an illusion broken when the mirror —
Of life shatters within her face, she’s beat;
Angel Down, Angel Down.
Trapped in a birdcage, no song to sing,
Her tunes aren’t lucid and her wings are clipped,
Such dreams as a young woman, such glad times,
Now she’s angry, so frustrated — life’s a lie;
Angel Down, Angel Down.
Paints her makeup mask, hide the mirror’s blood tracks,
She thinks she’s imperfect tries to conceal —
New dress, she’s pretty, long legs on display yet,
She can’t hide feelings, she doesn’t fit in here;
Angel Down, Angel Down.
He said heels were stupid, girls can’t walk on —
Four-inch needles; yet they made her happy.
Night of the dance, stumbled; wore light blue chucks,
Sitting on the radio at the party crying;
Angel Down, Angel Down.
Years pass, another day spent sifting in,
Her see-through life, on clothing racks, she —
Attempts to find the perfect fit, but she —
Knows like her, it’s elusive, can’t be found;
Angel Down, Angel Down.
Music saves some, for others it magnifies,
A hurt and hole inside her –can God even fill?
Remembering hideaways, experiences —
To fill the void within, smile with tears dripping;
Angel Down, Angel Down.
Time in lavish living rooms, won’t make her,
Feel love she’s so denied; she can’t even —
Love her own body, isn’t what it was,
She fingers trinkets bought, fears with tears smear;
Angel Down, Angel Down.
Jewel she thought would invoke good memories,
Fill her with hope and joy again; sharp pains of —
Alice was excited to be eighteen and have her coming-out party in society. The young girl who talked nonsense about Wonderland was gone — the adult had almost swallowed her fantastical self completely.
She participated in garden parties, having tea in different settings such as fashionable tea rooms with her mother and girl friends. Alice went out with friends on picnics and sometimes on a double-date with a girl friend, two gentlemen with potential, and of course a chaperone.
Part of Alice always had a difficult time letting go of Wonderland. She knew it as a world infinantly crazy. At the same time, it was a place where she felt at home and life even though hidden beneath words and rhymes, made the most sense out of any place she had visited.
Alice had been around the world. Her father and mother had taken her to Europe. She had seen art and buildings thousands of years-old. She studied countless kings, queens, poets, philisophers, and clergymen as she travelled with a tutor. She had even been to the Orient, stocking up on silk and tea for he friends. Something about having tea, always appealed to her. It wasn’t merely Victorian society’s obsession with the past-time.
Throughout her travels, Alice found herself thinking about her days in Wonderland. She would consider if her two grand adventures actually occurred. If the dreams she still had of people and creatures in Wonderland — new and old, throughout her life –were true?
Alice could picture her Wonderland friends drinking tea, eating cookies, and talking nonsense; it had all felt real. She missed her childhood, but at the same time thought she had indeed been bonkers. Her friends at school had quickly shown her how odd little girls were treated and mocked, until Alice ceased talking about Wonderland at all.
As she grew-up, she believed she caught glimpses of a furry white rabbit in a vest following her, keeping watch. The White Rabbit would turn his head and smile at Alice, purposefully checking his pocket watch and then waving it at her. She didn’t know what the White Rabbit wanted from her and she was never quite sure if he was real. Alice began to ignore the White Rabbit, but he was persistent, even invading her sleep. Her dreams became increasingly vivid and she felt wherever she went, traces of Wonderland and its inhabitants, grasped her with dreamy tendrils.
Since Alice had first returned from Wonderland as a small girl of six, a pair of intense green-eyes and an attractive smile, had haunted her dreams. She knew this man, knew he’d always been watching out for her in the stickiest of situations as she grew up, keeping her safe. Alice had never had the chance to meet this young man, only knew that he lingered in her presence often, and that when he she felt him, she was at peace.
Alice’s eigteenth birthday was a grand affair. Several young men and women attended with their families. Last night had been an opulent coming-out ball but tonight was a private affair for Alice and her closest girl friends. The best potential suitors for Alice and her friends were also invited.
She was sipping her tea when her eyes caught the eyes of a man she thought to be about five years her senior. His green-eyes were familiar and glinted knowingly at Alice. She stared at him enthralled; he seemed to know she was drawn to him. His smile was devastatingly familiar, but only in her dreams. Alice wasn’t sure she believedher dreams were genuine. Could magic still be real?
The young man was a strange creature to her, as strange as those creatures she’d met in Wonderland long ago. Perhaps more so, if the sins of the flesh the Abbot talked about were as terrible as he said they were. But Alice didn’t much care about the Abbot’s warnings. She was intrigued and had always been a curious girl; she peered at the green-eyed man considering him.
His suit was finely-made and he smiled at her boldly. He moved towards her, but Alice hid amongst her friends, not yet ready to meet him. Her heart fluttered when her eyes met the young man’s mysterious green-eyes again; he was laughing at her shyness.
Alice perturbed by his making fun of her, left her own party and went outside to ponder. She sat on a bench in the garden behind her house. She still tended the roses in the garden but had forgotten the unique song of all flowers, she had sung as a child. Her roses were wilting and dry. She stood up and bent to pick a lone surviving rose. Hearing odd noises she looked up.
She was unsure of where she was at first, the garden had disappeared and Alice stood on a large slippery brown rock in the middle of an ocean. A young man in a boat rowed towards her and the noises she heard was the water lapping against the stone.
“Oh, do hurry, this rock is so small and I think the water is rising,” Alice yelled to the man. She waved her arms until the boat was next to the rock and piercing green-eyes met her shocked blue ones. Strong hands gently held her steady as she stepped into the row boat.
Alice was grateful to the man, but then she recognized his face from the party. He pushed his short dark-brown waves from his forehead. His green-eyes knowingly studied Alice. She felt as a if she were a child again, under a teacher’s gaze, but the young man was not upset at her; he seemed curious and careful with her instead.
“Alice,” the young man said, “Please take a seat so I can row us to safer waters and neither one of us falls in the ocean.” Alice obeyed, sitting opposite of the man with her mouth gaping. The man gently closed her mouth, smoothing her skin with the back of his hand.
Alice’s face heated and she blushed,”Who are you? And why are you here with me in Wonderland? I didn’t think you were real, real enough to attend my party.”
The young man’s eyes twinkled cheerfully, “I’m Wren, Alice, and I’m here and yourhere because Wonderland needs us. It was time for you to return and time I met you in person — not only in your dreams.” Alice flushed red.
Wren chuckled, “You didn’t go easy on our friend the White Rabbit. He’s a bit peeved at you for ignoring him so long. He kept waving his prized watch at you. I’m surprised you weren’t curious enough to follow him, darling.”
“Wren, are you from Wonderland or did you come here as a child too, like me? You’ve been with me before a great deal. I remember your green-eyes and smile; you keep me safe, but you never say hello. I’ve never seen how you actually look before.”
“Dearest, I’ve always lived in Wonderland and you’re correct, I’ve been with you when you’ve visited and I take care you are safe in the outside world. I have a Cheshire Cat who watches you closely, along with my friend the White Rabbit. I haven’t always been able to be with you, but when I cannot you can be sure the Cheshire Cat or the White Rabbit are there.”
“Why do you keep me safe Wren and why do you call me dearest? I always thought you lived only in my dreams. It’s been so long since I visited through the looking glass; do you stand with the Red Queen or the White Queen?”
Wren smiled softly as he rowed the boat effortlessly, Alice peppering him with questions; he listened contentedly as he rowed. “I’m supported by the White Queen Alice, but my influence is greater than hers and so yourinfluence will be greater than any queen as well.”
Alice studied Wren. She had been staring her boots shyly, for far too long. It wasn’t like her to be shy, when she bubbled with questions. Yet, she could feel herself blush anytime she looked at Wren; his smile brightened when he caught Alice staring.
She brushed the blond hair out of her eyes and in her frilly white dress, balled her hands together on her lap, determined to have a long look at Wren. She was assured she’d seen him before in some form and felt his presence keeping her from harm. Wren was beautiful to Alice; he was handsome and lithely muscled beneath his clothes. He was from Wonderland so she was pleased not to have to hide nonsensicallogic from him; he already would understand what Wonderland was like.
She noticed his eyes peruse her and Alice blushed again. Wren reached for her small hand and squeezed it gently, as he stopped rowing the boat. “Alice, you’re beautiful. As a girl, I thought you a fascinating girl, defeating the Red Queen and deftly dealing with Time. You had such a tousled head of blond hair and you still do. You’ve the same inquisitive blue-eyes and you’ve grown into a stunning woman,” Wren told her squeezing her hand again. He seemed genuine and the compliments made Alice flustered.
“Your beauty is also an asset when one has been tasked to guard Wonderland as we have,” Wren continued.”Beauty can attract and fool people and often, at the same time,” Wren said, absently stroking circles on Alice’s hand. “It’s hard for me to explain. Especially since I’ve much more experience than you’ve in life. Humans ageslowly in Wonderland –most creatures here do. But as in any land, we have ourownways to protect and our own tyrants to fight. You have proven yourself twice against our foes.”
Wren held both her hands firmly, appearing serious, “We have always had two guardians at a time, for a thousand Wonderland years each pair, ensuring Wonderland’s survival. Our guardians are a couple; a couple is stronger than one being. I am one guardian, born in Wonderland and familiar with its ways,” Wren said.
“The second guardian is you, Alice, born of the outside world. You have learned and come to love Wonderland — though lately you pretend otherwise. You are the second guardian Alice and I’ve waited forever for you, my other half. You know forever can be a very long time.”
Alice blushed and then upon realizing the great responsibility she now had, her face went white, “Why me? Is this why I have never been able to forget Wonderland all these years ? Am I to marry you, a man I don’t really know?
Wren grinned at Alice tugging gently on her hands as she tried to free herself from his touch; he chuckled, playfully. Alice began to smile too and as she peered up from their joined hands, she saw the row boat resting on a beach. They stepped over the side of the boat and the vivacity and colour of Wonderland surrounded her as they walked into the forest. The flowers greeted Alice immediately, so happy she had returned.
Wren stopped walking a moment, turning to face Alice. He was heads above her and tilted her chin up to look at him. “My Alice,” he began, “Magic is a curious thing. It can find the right people and draw them together. It has always driven me to you. I have loved you since I first saw you.”
“That makes no sense.”
“But it does Alice. You believe in magic, yes?” Alice nodded.
“Then you know. If you want magical things to happen, you must believe in them. We must believe in each other. And what’s knowing? People are together fifty-years in your world and they don’t know each other. Often, they’ve forgotten the magic — the love, between them. Here the world is magic and I will not forget you or our love.”
“Wren, I’m particularly fond of you. I’ve never felt this way, except about you, ever — only in dreams when you visited, when I felt you near somehow. Is that love and is it enough? And I’m only eighteen-years-old, how can I guard Wonderland?
Wren smiled and he gently pecked Alice’s lips.”We have forever. Forever is a thousand Wonderland years. All your old friends are here. Not those girls who were cruel to you for being you at school. Wonderland needs us both and you will soon know me as I know you. We will even know each other better than most people ever know each other. What you feel for me, I’m so thankful for. And yes it is enough, it is the beginning of love.”
“I’m not sure couples should always know each other better. Sometimes secrets are better kept,” Alice said thoughtfully.
“Dearest, we cannot have secrets. We have a responsibility but we have a haven in each other and perhaps much later, a child to carry on as guardian with another girl or boy from your world, when forever comes,” Wren stated stroking Alice’s cheek.
“I can trust you, Wren? I’d rather have the truth in a nonsensical way than an outright lie,” Alice said firmly staring at Wren.
He blushed this time, “I will be truthful to you —nonsensically and sensically.”
Alice smiled and kissed Wren’s cheek before saying,”You never said Wren, who do we guard Wonderland from?”
“From reality, Alice. From those who do not believe in magic. For those who would tell people love is not real and everything has to be logical and makesense. Though our world is much nonsense, we make moresense than the real world. There are always monsters in the midst and as you know, timehimself is often one of them. So are Queens and many tyrants, there is always a badguy somewhere I’m afraid,” Wren said a bit tiredly.
Alice stared at Wren, standing on her tippy-toes, and stroking his stumbled cheeks in comfort. She felt drawn to Wren, as if she were in a pleasant fog. Gently her lips met Wren’s for a kiss. He kissed her back more intensely and she could feel what she knew was passion between them; it was Alice’s first real kiss. They lingered a while, walking and teasing each other, stealing more kisses which were more difficult for Alice to step away from each time.
A stray thought occurrred to her as they walked, “Won’t my mother miss me?” Alice asked, “How can I leave her alone?”
“She will believe you married a wealthy heir and will be pleased, as that will be the truth; we can visit her often, though she will be gone for most of your lifetime.”
Alice nodded feeling sad, but realizing her duty with Wren. She wasn’t afraid, knowing he was with her. She knew their relationship was blossoming and would flourish, perhaps, with ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ as couples had — but perhaps, better. Their connection had been built her entire life.
Taking Wren’s hand, Alice walked off into Wonderland. How curious her home would be here with Wren and his green–eyes gazing at her with love, and the White Rabbit out of no where, jumping beside them.