I looked upon the elegant display of food on china that you could see through.
Flowers had been brought in for the occasion from other parts of the world – after all it was the dead of winter.
I wanted just a taste of the finest food; to inhale roses and gardenias.
As the daughter of the lowest servant on the estate, I would be lucky to get a dry left -over bone.
The standard poodle, Rasputin, would get some of the best that was left – he might share with me.
We were friends-Rasputin was the only friend I had in the world.
He had saved me from falling off the third story banister when I was two or three.
He was my protector. He loved me almost as much as I loved him.
He hated all the pretense of the family he lived with.
He told me that one day as we were having tea.
He always shared the best with me.
At times, he would invite me to share his satin bed cushion for a nap.
He was old now; I was no longer small enough to curl up with him on his cushion.
I know he wished I might attend the event rather than serve.
I didn’t mind.
“She will have to do” one of the servants said as she dragged me toward the living quarters.
I wondered what they were planning.
There, laid out on a huge bed, was a pewter satin dress. My eyes got big as the women yanked off my black servant’s attire.
Someone tugged on black ,sheer, silk nylons. I had never felt anything so luxurious next to my skin.
They wrapped diamonds around my neck and put my dark hair up in a quick coiffure. Fortunately my hair was naturally curly so it pinned up easily and ringlets naturally fell around my neck.
Black gloves and black shoes were the last accoutrement.
“Voila,” one of my friends said as she brushed away unseen lint.
“She is a beautiful.”
“Wonder what the master will say?”
I wondered why the master would say anything.
As one of the women squirted perfume, she explained that the party was one woman short.
Some important friends with a younger son were attending and they had promised a partner for him for dinner.
Someone quickly explained table etiquette.
What they didn’t know is Rasputin had taught me at tea.
I had always pretended to be as grand as he was.
The night was long, hot, and tiring.
The young man a fat, prideful, bore.
But … the food was magnificent
and I got to inhale the flowers
to my heart’s content.
Photo: Burning Photo