FaLLING - COMING FALL 2012
I was fifteen minutes late for the party and still wasn’t dressed. I hate being in a rush. Whenever I am in a hurry my mind veers off into a panicked frenzy while my body desperately tries to keep up. My thoughts bounce around like pinballs scattering from side to side in my brain without any real direction. My body desperately attempts to create a clear path for the ball to go, but despite the efforts the ball never seems to reach its destination.
At least I had my dress on- but it needed to be zipped up the back. My hair and makeup was complete, but I was still in search of a missing shoe. I hadn’t even thought about accessories as I scurried around the hotel room scrambling to finish all the last minute details. I had given up on being punctual twenty minutes ago and cursed that shoe for disappearing.
As I looked around the elaborate room, with its high-vaulted ceilings and dark mahogany wood floors, I couldn’t help but feel entitled. Everything in the room was coated in rich, luscious fabrics and only the finest furnishings. Red velvet drapes hang over the windows while cream-colored bedding anchors the room’s dramatic flair. The scent of cinnamon apple floats through the room, making me miss the comforts that holidays carry with them. The room strove to appear homey, but vastly failed in my opinion.
It was ridiculously over the top, but what daddy’s little girl wants, daddy’s little girl gets. This was, after all, my party. I should be prepared and relaxed, not scatterbrained and frantic. With every passing minute I tried to convince myself that this was the right decision. That marrying Ayden was everything I ever wanted and more...but deep inside I knew that wasn’t the ‘truth’ my dreams were shouting at me. The longer I procrastinated the better I felt about calling the whole thing off. Too bad I had come to terms with living a life that was chosen for me rather than because of me.
Coming from a well-known and quite established Texan family, I never wanted for a single thing my entire life. I never had to worry about anything because my Daddy always took care of me. If a problem occurred, I only needed to say ‘please Daddy, fix it for me’, and it was magically taken care of without any effort on my part. I was after all his only daughter, and he loved to spoil me rotten. I guess what people say isn’t so true after all because money cannot buy happiness. Daddy strove to alleviate my obvious discontent by tossing money at the problem. The bubble he surrounded me with was starting to squeeze the life out of me. It almost seemed he knew I was nearing my breaking point as he dumped more financial compensation on my unhappiness, which was growing stronger and stronger. Money for flowers, money for invitations, and more money for every other thing he was trying to ignore.
The air was quickly leaking out of my bubble the closer to the wedding I got. No amount of money or ignorance was going to help me breathe again. Inhaling became a chore rather than second nature. Exhaling the little oxygen my lungs possessed was excruciating. Again the redundant phrase ‘Truth’ kept orbiting around in my mind like an Olympic track runner vying for the gold metal.
I never have any real input into what is going on around me. From an early age I was told who I was, what I was to become, and how I was to accomplish it. I come from a life of privilege and have been groomed this whole time to be the perfect daughter. The standard I had to live up to was well above normal expectations for most.
I feel like a caged animal at the zoo. Overbearing eyes watching my every move, waiting for something to happen or a reason for the zookeepers to lock me away until I learn how to behave. Everyone was available to judge me and no one was allowed to get to know me, not the real me at least. I was to be seen but not heard. I regretfully watched through the bars that enclosed my life, knowing there would never be an escape from my endless captivity.
Even though I only met my Grannie Anna once, years ago, sometimes I feel that she has been the only person to ever really ‘get’ me. Her outlandish talk about magical worlds parallel to ours captivated my naive imagination. The so-called enchanted pearls she discreetly slipped into my palm moments before her abrupt departure tied an invisible string of hope between us.
As the necklace rolled around in my hand and I fingered each individual pearl I only felt their cold, smooth texture. Her raspy voice lingered in my ears for hours after she was gone. I remember Grannie Anna whispering softly as she hugged me goodbye, “Take these and show no one, for they are magical pearls blessed by a voodoo queen. When the time is right you will know how to use them and why they were created for only you. They will lead you to where you need to go even if you do not know the way. Fear not my darling, only good will come to you as long as good is all you release back into the world. The spirits of nature will carry you to your true love if you only allow them entrance. You are brave Rosalee, you are special, and they can never take that from you. There is truth out there if only you choose to let it in once it finds you. I love you, darling and I will see you again. No one can keep us apart, not even your father.” Her cryptic message never made any sense until recently when the dreams started to come to me.
I stood staring in the mirror, checking myself out before I would have to make a mad dash to the elevators. One of many engagement parties were being held downstairs for my upcoming nuptials. Once again I would I put on a happy face and play the role of perfect daughter and fiancée.
My Daddy had rented out the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin for tonight’s extravagant celebration. The hotel was over a hundred years old and was known for hosting numerous events for socialites like myself. My father really had outdone himself on this occasion, but that was a normal occurrence with my family. He had arranged for tonight’s guests to have rooms at the hotel while the party would take place downstairs in the restaurant. We had family coming in from all over Texas, from El Paso to Houston.
Everyone was going to be there tonight to celebrate my special occasion except the person I wanted most – my Grannie Anna. After her sporadic visit my father forbid us to keep in contact, until he told me when I was eighteen that she had died. He said she had died peacefully in her sleep and that he was her only child. Whenever I would ask questions he would say that he was an only child and that he had no family back home in New Orleans.
Knock! Bang! Knock! Bang! I was thrust out of my thoughts by a loud and obnoxious pounding on the door and knew instantly it was my best friend and maid of honor, Zoey. “Hello! I know you’re in there!” she yelled through the thick wooden barrier. “Open the door!” she continued as she banged relentlessly at the door. Zoey was by no means a patient person. With every thump against the door you would have thought there was a rhinoceros slamming against the entrance...but no, it was a petite yet feisty little girl on a mission.
I yelled back to her, “Hold on! I'm coming!” I pulled up the zipper on my dress while scurrying to the entrance. My feet glided across the velvety carpet as I ran towards the door, and an agitated Zoey.
As I reached the door I could hear her yelling again, and this time she was even louder. “The best man isn’t going to be snagged up by some other trash you call a bridesmaid because I’m stuck here waiting on your slow-poke ass to get ready!” Zoey continued to beat on the door as if she didn’t hear me say I was on my way.
“I’m coming, I’m coming!” I barked back as I unlatched the safety lock. “It is my party you know! So I can be fashionably late if I want to!” I said as I pried open the hotel door and let her in. She rolled her eyes and smacked me on the butt as she passed through the entrance. My bottom burned from the violent show of affection and I tenderly rubbed it to ease the pain.
I didn’t even try to fight back a smile; Zoey always brightened my day whether she knew it or not. She sure did have a way with words as well as with men; I don’t know what she was worried about being late for. She was beyond perfection; every guy wanted her and every girl wanted to be her. She never stayed attached to any one particular guy for too long because she said life was too short. She was wild and untamed and I envied her for it.
She was no less than 5’7” with waist length, blonde silky strands that flowed like liquid gold. She was built just the way the boys liked and she knew just how to use that against them. There was no doubt in my mind that she had absolutely no competition for the best man’s heart, but I think she just liked giving me a hard time. She could always get a rise out of me no matter how hard I tried to stop her. Her intentions were never honorable and I knew good and well she wasn’t interested in stealing any hearts tonight.
“Seriously Zoey, as if you need another notch to add to your bed post,” I said with a smirk.
Zoey and I have been best friends as long as I can remember. I might have not had a sister but she was my adopted sibling from the day we met. She is very different from me, which I think only makes us a better pair. Where I am all sweet and classy, she is uninhabited and over the top. She loves the spot light to be on her and loves any attention she can get. She is the most loyal person I’ve ever known and I don’t know if I could make it through life without her by my side.
She stopped in her tracks, “Excuse me… little miss virgin! Some of us actually enjoy the company of a hot, sweaty man from time to time!” She winked at me while snickering, “You know Rosalee, you might enjoy it if you ever gave it a try. My bed post is severally dented for a reason and it isn’t for a distressed finish.”
I narrowed my eyes at the back of her head, “You know some people might think you were a whore if they didn’t know you.” I giggled as she shot me an evil glare over her shoulder. “Oh… the rumors are true! So you admit to being a total a skankadoo!” Zoey instantly turned on her heels and started her retaliation.
She tackled me onto the bed and fiercely tickled my feet while sitting on top of me. I tried to thrash and wiggle out from beneath her, but it was useless so I reluctantly gave in, “Uncle! Uncle!” The moment she released one foot I blurted out my forced apology, “You aren’t a skankadoo!” As I felt my remaining foot slip from her grasp I continued, “Now you’ve gone and messed up my hair, are you happy?” I rubbed my fingers through my locks as I righted myself on the bed.
“Your hair was already fixed?” she asked jokingly.
“Yes!” I said as we both chuckled at our immature horse-playing that was only further making me late to the party. “Now can you be of some help? I’m missing one of my heels and I’m convinced you had something to do with its disappearance.”
She stood from the bed and pulled down her black dress before helping me in my hunt to find my missing shoe. “If I was going to steal your heels then it would make more sense to take both of them you dumbass! Plus, no one can feet their feet into your midget sized shoes anyways.” Zoey lifted up the covers that dangled over the edge of the bed while yelling out, “How does someone misplace a shoe anyways? This room is a pig-sty! What have you been doing in here besides procrastinating?”
I stuck my head through the bathroom door while saying, “I’m a nervous wreck Zoey! I’m late and I’m not even close to being ready. You know how this will look to my mother; she’s already been on my ass all morning! And for your information I do not have midget feet, sasquatch!”
Zoey pulled herself off the ground and shot me a dirty look, “Watch it princess.” she said while snickering at me as I ducked back into the bathroom before she could toss the pillow she was holding. “Chicken!” was all I heard before I slammed the door closed.
I always tried my best to be prim and proper to appease my family, but Zoey always knew how to test the limits on the bubble I placed myself within. She always got us into trouble but somehow always managed to sweet-talk our way out of it just as quick. She gave my boring, bland life the swift kick in the rear end that it needed. There was never a dull minute with Zoey and I was grateful beyond knowing for the tiny slither of excitement she gave my life.
She was always trying to bring the wild side out in me that I never thought existed. Given the opportunity, she would push me to test the limits that my parents strictly enforced. My father ruled with an iron fist and had no problem reminding me that anytime I dared to cross the line he had set forth before me. He would tell me that he had raised a lady and by no means should I ever be treated as anything less than that as long as he was still around. Daddy was very much the typical, southern gentleman that believed woman should be idolized, not degraded. Although honorable in theory, it was not always the exciting route to travel when you wanted to be rebellious.
I bravely came out of the bathroom to see Zoey laid out on the cream-colored bedspread. “Zoey!” She opened one eye while giving me a half smile. “Will you at least help pick out some jewelry if you aren’t going to help find my other shoe?” I ran around the oversized bed to the closet only to spot my shoe sitting there on the floor like it had been there the entire time. As I stared at the heel it almost seemed to taunt me from where I stood. I snatched up the cocky little runaway before walking to the full-length mirror so I could check out my soon-to-be completed outfit.
Zoey sat at the small vanity in the corner digging through my jewelry box as she asked, “Which one do you want, jewelry or shoe?”
“I found the sandal- it was hiding in the closet. Pesky little bastard!” I screeched as I marched across the room on a mission. “Any luck?” I questioned, while looking in the mirror at myself.
I stood there with my little 5’2 rail-thin frame, trying my very best to fill out the Chanel dress I was wearing. I was by no means as well-endowed as Zoey was, but I like to think that my ‘assets’ were in proportion to my size. I might have only been a hundred and ten pounds soaking wet but I didn’t look scrawny. I was naturally a petite girl who portrayed the average girl next door when it came to looks. My Italian/French heritage made me look just the tiniest bit exotic but still left me looking plain Jane enough to blend in with the norm. I like to think that I stand out in my own special way.
The dress I was wearing was a beautiful shade of cream that made my olive-colored skin glow in the color contrast. The Chanel dress fit like a glove; it made my little perky breasts look a cup size bigger and my tush look amazing. The dress curved around my body like a second skin. It was almost to my knees with a small split up the center of the back hem line and little cap sleeves draping over my shoulders.
My auburn hair was down, and lay just below my shoulders with a slight curve in toward my heart-shaped face. The color sparkled like the perfect mix between crimson red and hot chocolate brown. It was the perfect combination of colors to accent my eyes and skin tone. Thank the Lord for Brazilian Blowouts and Lance, my hair dresser, for taming the mess I refer to as my hair. Although it is silky straight tonight that is not typically the case. My hair is naturally curly and most of the time downright unruly. Things like that didn’t matter when I could spend five hundred dollars getting it done by the best hair stylist in Austin. I swear Lance worked magic with his hands when tackling my wild tresses.
My eyes are almond shaped, and are just big enough to give me that doe-like expression that everyone seems to love. I personally think they look freakishly large, but I always seem to get compliments on them regardless. They are the deepest color of brown I've ever seen; they are so dark they almost borderline looking black. My mother has the same color and eye shape. These traits have been passed down for years in her Italian lineage. My father always did say it was my mother’s eyes that made him fall in love with her. He would joke that I was going to be a heartbreaker just like she was, because no man in his right mind could resist eyes that enchanting. Thankfully looks were the only thing I had in common with my mother.
Now that I had both shoes, I started squeezing my little size six feet into a pair of olive green ‘fuck me’ pumps as Zoey called them. The five inch platform Christian Louboutins I was wearing suddenly made me feel confident as I slipped them on. They seemed to make me stand straighter and my butt look plumper. Zoey had helped me pick them out a few weeks ago since she was my self-proclaimed stylist. I was always too modest to wear such gaudy shoes but Zoey gave me the strength I needed to pull them off. Maybe the way they made my body change instantly was why Zoey referred to them as ‘fuck me’ pumps. I always assumed it was because they were stripper-ish in design, but looking in the mirror at my reflection I could now see what she truly meant. They made every part of my girlish figure transform into a mature, sexy young lady as though they were magic Cinderella shoes. A perfect fit considering I was about to head down the stairs to meet my Prince Charming.
“Yeah, I think so.” She answered before standing to her feet. “I’ve never seen you wear these before…” she drifted off mid-thought as she flowed across the room toward me. She could be so poised and elegant when she wanted to be...but most of the time Zoey was quite the character.
As she walked closer I could see what she had dangling from her ivory-toned hand. Laced through her fingers and bouncing with each step she took were the soft, creamy pearls that I had long forgotten were in my jewelry box. The simple string of pearls she held absently in the palm of her hand began to flood my mind with intense memories of my grandmother.
“These are classic and I think they will help make you look like a whored up version of Jackie-O,” was all she said as she helped put the pearl necklace around my slender neck. As the rounded balls graced my collarbone I felt a surge of energy flow through my whole body.
Memories mixed with my recent dreams came crashing down on me with intense force. Bam! Bam! Bam! One after another rapidly flew through my mind like a seagull taking flight at the beach after he finds a lonely crumb on the sand. I take a ginormous gulp of air as I sense Zoey walk away from me. Those pearls opened up a piece of my soul. And just as quickly as it all came to me...it escaped . Nothing made sense, but somehow I still felt the slightest tingle haunting me as I twisted the beads around my fingertips.
Grannie Anna had given me those pearls the before she died. I never wore them for fear of losing them, but tonight seemed like the perfect occasion to wear them. She said they were blessed with good luck and would help me find my soul mate. Grannie Anna was a Cajun-French kook from New Orleans, Louisiana who spoke of voodoo witchcraft and spells. I just blew it off as her being old and crazy; it was part of her charm and I never questioned it. Just like being under that old oak tree, these pearls made me feel connected to her. It instantly brought me back to a sense of calm knowing I had a piece of her with me tonight. I can’t be positive but I truly believe that the lingering prickles tracing through my veins is a piece of my Grannie Anna. Somehow she was telling me that everything was going to be just fine and for the first time in a long time I felt complete.
“Hmm… I will try my best to take that as a compliment, but I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to compare Jackie-O to a prostitute” was all I could say in response to that previous statement. Here I was thinking of my sweet little grannie and there Zoey was talking about whoring me up.
Just as my eyes were starting to get watery at the thought of my grannie, Zoey abruptly stopped my moment of remembrance with yet another wild comment. “Seriously Rosalee…you look freaking hot! Ayden is going to fall out of his chair when he sees you!” I turned to see her checking herself out in the mirror and giggled to myself quietly. She wasn’t even looking at me as she spoke. “Well, that’s if you hurry up so we can make it to the party before it’s over.” She turned from the mirror and started walking straight for me while raising her voice to an authoritative tone, “I swear you are so damn slow!” As I jumped up from the end of the bed she started to smile brightly while gently tapping me several times on the butt again, “Scoot… Scoot my little darling! Let’s get this show on the road.” She grabbed my wrist and proceeded to drag me towards the door.