sandandwater: (secrets)
She takes the chairs, one by one, from the tabletops and turns them right side up.

Pippa grew up in a house; some would call it an estate, away from the city and is the only child to a pair of image conscious socialites. Old money. She called them Mother and Father, never Mommy and Daddy, not that she saw them overmuch. Most of her days were spent with a nanny, a maid, a teacher or instructor. Some sort of handler for the child. That’s what was done, is done. Turning out a refined and seemingly proper young lady, well learned in all things sophisticated.


Plugs in the juke box and selects a few songs, letting canned music fill the empty bar.

She had suitable hobbies: played the piano, learned to ride a horse. She could speak French and discuss the latest polo match. Time was spent at the country club. There was a formal debutant ball when she turned sixteen. She was presented to society as if some sort of parental achievement. Minor royalty in an insular little world. She was sent on a tour of Europe to see the right places, appreciate the right art, and drink the correct wines.


Ties an apron around her waist.

Servants did for her even the most trivial of things. She couldn’t have told you where the laundry room was let alone how you should go about washing something soiled. Food was prepared, beds were made, messes tidied. Dust, dirt and detritus were never part of her world. Everything was clean and polished, shining and if not new, well kept.


Her hair gets pulled back from her face even if a few wild ringlets refuse to be tamed.

She kept the company her parents chose for her. Friends were the children of people of influence. Her confidences and connections parlayed for her father’s benefit or her mother’s whims. She wore the newest fashions and wore them well; it would never do to look slovenly or unkempt. Dignity, always dignity.


Notepad is tucked into a pocket, pen just beside.

Going away to attend university (the proper one, chosen for her of course) was a small taste of freedom from the constricting environment in which she’d been raised. Certainly the things she did were filtered back to her parents by classmates (by way of their parents) and faculty. By Pippa herself, even if she omitted selected details. Still, it was freeing and new. Sides of life she never encountered before. Messy and loud. Chaotic. There were parties where the music was rock not waltz. Food that was cheap and greasy not catered. And of course the studies and the work, all done with diligence. That was to be expected.


Wipes down tray after tray of clean glasses, ensuring there are no spots and streaks.

Then there was him. He was worldly in a way that she wasn’t. Not as high class or sophisticated but he’d had experiences that Pippa found thrilling and intriguing. He found her naive and charming. She was in love, he was in lust and she didn’t know the difference. It was a heady and joyful thing to her, it made her finally feel the sophistication she was told she possessed, having this secret lover. It was something of the adult world, after all.


Someone else is adjusting the lighting, making her laugh with the playful strobe light effects on the bar.

And secret he stayed even after it was forced to an end. A professor that impregnates a student isn’t all that unique, even if it is unethical. When she told him she was going to have his baby, he told her the truth: he didn’t love her and she wasn’t the only one he’d been seeing. Not that he’d deliberately deceived her in the first place. He never made promises or confessed to anything he didn’t mean. Pippa did love him and though it broke her heart, this hard lesson in life, she refused to tell anyone his identity. She’d protect him, his career. His tenure. Why should his life be ruined over something that she’d thought was beautiful while it lasted?


Citrus fruits are washed and then sliced into wedges, placed in bins full of ice.

Her parents were enraged, embarrassed, appalled. How could she be so thoughtless, clueless, careless, and stupid? And what would their friends think? Her father’s associates? A bastard child created (as they imagined in the most lurid of ways) and she didn’t even have a respectable man she could pin it on. Her mother tried to be a diplomat about things, suggested Pippa be adult and ‘take care of it.’ Make her first experience with love a dirty little secret best forgotten, all traces of it erased, disposed of like so much waste.


She sorts the cash register drawer, makes sure there is tape and ink in the printer.

She was anything but clueless or careless and never has she been heartless. She wouldn’t do as her parents wanted but she also refused to use the child as an act of defiance. She did see the pregnancy through and with the calm acceptance and knowledge that she wasn’t ready for this life change, couldn’t be what this child, their child, deserved, a little girl was put up for adoption. It was an act of love and selflessness, sacrifice to be sure, but her heart had already been wounded; now it would need more time to heal.


Plasters a smile upon her pretty face, unlocks the front doors.

She never did go back to the college; she didn’t want to face him again. Her family and so-called friends simply assumed she was embarrassed and ashamed. She wasn’t, not ever. But she did have some pride. She wouldn’t go back to that privileged cage she grew up in, not when it came with condemnation and more stipulations now that she was a scandal of her own making. She took the only good advice she’d been given about the whole affair and on her grandmother’s urging, Pippa spent time in Italy. Venice, to be exact. She studied and apprenticed in the art of glass making. She had a natural talent for it and the patience along with the ability to excise extreme control necessary. In front of the fiery hot furnaces she not only shaped melted sand and chemicals into beautiful art, she shaped herself. The woman she wanted to be said good-bye to the girl that she had been.


It’s going to be a good night.
sandandwater: (mesmerized)
Ten Childhood Memories

1. Piano lessons…my instructor was a wrinkled old stiff-lace man, but once my nanny deposited me and left? We’d play chopsticks and Heart and Soul instead of boring old Bach. Plus he always wore bowties instead of neckties. I liked that.

2. Fishing a frog out of the pond and putting it in the teapot before mother’s bridge game. Pearl clutching and screaming, oh my!

3. Nana always having peppermints in the bottom of her couture handbags.

4. Being fitted for a new riding habit every time I grew an inch.

5. Jumping the crossties without a horse.

6. Summers in Martha’s Vineyard. I saw Jackie Onassis once and thought I’d met bone fide royalty.

7. Culpepper, my pony.

8. Playing with dripping candle wax and using the hot liquid to make new shapes. I guess it was inevitable that I’d be making glass some day.

9. My first tour of Europe. Western of course. I don’t remember much but I do like looking at all of the stamps in my passport. And I remember everything seeming so large and looming, grand in scale.

10. Reading Jane Eyre for the first time.

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sandandwater

October 2009

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