My eyes felt drawn to her. It was her 1920’s style hat that first caught my attention. So elegant in a sea of people throwing scarves and newspapers over their heads in an attempt to block the sun. Someone had brought her a chair to sit on. While the rest of us sat on the ground, leaning in towards anything that would give us some reprieve from the kind of tired feeling that comes with just, waiting.
With long side ways glances I slowly took her in. Her velvet embroidered winter jacket, long skirt and slipper style shoes seemed to contrast terribly. The elegance and care given up top, and been forsaken for comfort on her feet. Soft shoe fittings slipped on to tired worn feet that might have been jammed into unyielding heeled shoes for far too many years. Who was I too judge? Maybe, if I was lucky enough to reach my moonshine years, I too would feel like wearing slipper style shoes one day with an elegant embroidered velvet jacket.
And a hat.
I thought about her later when I got back home. Wondered about her decades lived before me and all the things that she might have done. I wondered about the stories she might be able to share and the different periods that she had lived through. I hadn’t asked though, I hadn’t even said one word to her. Just wondered.
I was reminded of a picture I had, gently sitting between the pages of a thick heavy book here at home. A picture from long ago that my mum had given me. Not a picture from a family member or a picture with a story. Just a picture that had been in a box, auctioned by a stranger and come bundled up together along side a few other treasures. I had often thought about this lady as well. The stories she would have told, the curiosity and intrigue that I’m sure she would have created in her own era and then again by me so many years later.
Both of these women were completely different, yet similar in that they created an air of mystic. A pause, a wonder. A long held thought on everything they were now or that they had been before. The places they had gone, the people they had spent time with. Their favourite way to drink tea. How that elegantly embroidered velvet jacket or those sequins had been decided on.
Things I’ll never know, but instead I’m given a moment or two to think about each woman in her own way. Their life, their intrigue…their stories.