A Lady’s Guide to Rising

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My hoops hold me, and make me feel ready — at least for this day. I walk out the door, and notice the gardener, who is holding Mother’s latest purchase, a poodle with his hair cut in an odd pattern. Perhaps the gardener feels sorry for it, or perhaps it reminds him of the pruning he needs to do on the hedges.

However, I don’t cut my own pondering, much less a dog’s. As I walk along the street, I can’t help but notice a large man who I have never seen before. He is dumping old fish and dirty water onto the street, hitting the old cobblestones with fresh slaps. His muscles bulge out of his tattered shirt, and he grins at me with a toothy smile. My first reaction is to think, “Welcome, Stranger.” And before I can stop myself, I smile, all the while chastising myself, thinking, rise above it.

Finally, I arrive at Madame Derides’ and I see other women, struggling with their hoops, straightening their hats. This is the world I know, but strangely, here is also where I feel I float above, effortlessly. The room is immaculate, and Madame Derides walks towards us, motioning to the parlor. But I notice a slight waver, a small trip, by the Madame, and I can’t help but smile. Rising above it all can be so hard.

© Melissa Miles McCarter 2019

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