Lady looked out the window dismally. The day was beautiful, gorgeous, perfect even. The sun smiled down on the land and everything on it. Birds chirped, rejoicing the recent hatching of their offspring. Dogs barked and people talked. A group of children, Lady recognized some of them from around the town, were playing a game of ball just outside her house. She felt it must have been a cruel joke by God for them to pick such a spot at such a time.
Lady was mature for her age not by nature but by upbringing. She knew this and felt the difference between herself and her peers. She often lay in bed at night and mourned for her youth, tossed aside in favor of someone else’s agenda. She knew the opportunities she would be granted were beyond measure and well worth her trouble, but she could not dash the sound of distant laughter from her mind for all the bright future in the world.
“Lady.” Her mother called, entering her bedroom. Turning from the window Lady curtsied. “Now there’s my little princess.” Examining her daughter, she straightened her dress and fluffed her hair while quizzing. “Let’s begin today by going over what we learned yesterday.” Walking to the front of the room her mother stood in such a way that would make a marble statue jealous.
“A proper lady,” Lady began. “Keeps a decent house and home, thinks much and speaks little, and can silence a room with just a look. She reserves her bedroom behavior for the bedroom; it is not for the world to see therefore employing the valuable moral of “leaving something to the imagination”.
Lady didn’t understand everything she said. She knew at a young age she was promised to a boy a few ages older than her, but in all the years since she had met him not once. Her mother promised they would meet when he was ready and that in the meantime she should work on improving herself for her future position.
“Good.” Her mother, once in her own position (so she was told) smiled. “Today we’re going outside.” Lady perked up, daring to hold her breath for hope of feeling the sun directly against her skin. “We are going to practice walking up and down stairs.” Her mother elaborated, clapping excitedly. Lady fought hard to maintain her composure and not throw herself to the floor in exasperation.
Handed a pair of new heels, considerably taller than any she’d worn before, she was led out into the hall. Standing before the grandest decent in the house Lady swallowed nervously. “A real lady looks the most graceful when descending a staircase in heels and a dress.” Her mother said over her shoulder.
Lady took a deep breath, gathered her skirts, and took the first step. It started out shakily but with each clap of her heels she became more confident. She lowered her skirts just enough and reached for the railing hoping to convey eloquence. It only took a second for her skirts to mingle with her heels and form one budging mass, sending her tumbling down the majority of the flight.
Disoriented she heard the clack of her own mother’s heels as she rushed down the stairs after her fallen child. Hoisted up, sorting up from down, Lady counted her bruises but sent a quick prayer in thanks she was still alive. Sighing, her mother held her head.
“Maybe we should start smaller…” She looked at Lady encouragingly. “I’ll have to think of something… For now why don’t you go outside for some fresh air? You’ve seemed pale lately.”
Blinking, Lady broke into a grin and ran upstairs back into her room as if nothing had happened. Changing into a more manageable outfit she dashed out the front door without a care in the world.