A Tale

I remember the day a princess floated onto the shore, naked and shivering with seaweed entangled in her hair. I stood with my eyes wide, not for seeing someone wash up on shore, but for seeing a lady with no clothes on. How risqué! How more than risqué! How scandalous! This woman, I thought, is someone I would like very much to get acquainted with. Imagine, having courage to pull off a scandal such as this, to scurry out of strange waters alone bearing all. What an interesting life this woman must lead. Was she escaping a ship full of pirates who tied her to the bow? Maybe they had made her walk the plank. Six paces with her eyes shut tight! Or perhaps she fled a loveless marriage and magnificent dowry. A throne in an enormous castle with servants and subjects. A tiara made of pure silver and crystal. Ballrooms filled to capacity with twirling gowns. Long white gloves being held by their gentleman suitors. And at night, soft beds and pillows stuffed with feathers to lay a tired princess head upon, who dreams with starlight pouring in from the open window, the light of the moon in her sight.

I hurried over to her, pulling off my shawl to spread over her shivering body. As she gasped for air I examined her face. Porcelain skin, the bluest eyes and a head of golden hair. She was the story book princess I read every night. The one who kept me company and softened my gaze right before I could no longer keep myself awake. A real story book princess here, wrapped in my shawl. How lucky of me to be walking here today.

She coughed and coughed until it grew tiresome and wiped her face dry with the end of my shawl. I led her away from the water, up toward the hill where the grass was high enough to hide what the shawl could not.

I stared at her, like I was not supposed to. Everyone told me that staring was not polite, but they had never been this close to a princess before, so obviously their judgment was skewed.

The princess caught her breath and looked back at me with as much amazement as I had when I first saw her.

To be continued.

TDM

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The TLC on Sherbourne and Nowhere

The True Love Café stood out. Though I had never been inside, it seemed to capture my attention. It was not particularly attractive on the outside, painted a deep shade of purple, with a giant heart scaling the front of its building. The inside, which I could only gather from looking through the windows, was just the same. Unattractive under dim lights (and probably more so amidst bright lights), chairs and tables could be seen in the presence of tall plants, sad looking palm leaves and house shrubbery. Not as appealing to the eye as one would think or hope for a place with “love” in its name. Only the outlines of figures could be seen, like shadows blurred in the background. A man behind a counter, a few people spread among eight or so tables, moving slowly, making their time last in beats. It seemed quiet to me, as though anyone on the inside could be sheltered from the city sounds, from the noises of streetcars rolling along the tracks, people trudging down sidewalks, bikes, cars, trucks, horns honking, dogs barking, hollering for apologies and yelling for the sake of yelling. It just seemed as though time stood still here, and that it stood quietly with a grin of contentment. I had never seen anyone enter the café, nor had I ever seen anyone exit. Yet whenever I passed by there were always people inside, perhaps just a coincidence of timing, or perhaps not. Though I admired the pace that seemed to be present among them, the folks inside always seemed quite unwell from where I stood. Why were they able to be so still, so present in their moment? Were they not flooded with the commotion on the outside? How could they not see or hear the masses that passed them by beyond the walls of the café? What content they must have. T. DM