~”He was exhaled; his great Creator drew His spirit as the sun the morning dew.” ~~ John Dryden, On the Death of a Very Young Gentleman.
Archive for July, 2012
~”Of comfort no man speak: Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs; Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth; Let’s choose executors and talk of wills.” ~~ William Shakespeare, Richard II,III
~”Goethe in Weimar sleeps, and Greece, Long since, saw Byron’s struggle cease.” ~~ Matthew Arnold, Memorial Verses.
~”Wandering between two worlds, one dead, The other powerless to be born.” ~~ Matthew Arnold
~”He went; his piping took a troubled sound Of storms that rage outside our happy ground; He could not wait their passing; he is dead.” ~~ Matthew Arnold
~”Fate gave, what Chance shall not control, His sad lucidity of soul.” ~~Matthew Arnold
~” . . . the fog is rising.” ~~ Emily Dickinson
Margery Morninglory lived in a small, small house on the wrong side of town. Like many houses in her neighbourhood, it was painted faded pink and had curved mosaic tile steps from the 1950’s Elvis era leading down from the front door, giving the place an air of being just past its sell-by date. The yard, typical of those found throughout the southside of town, was mostly unkempt and half the shrubs were only partially alive due to neglect and sporting shriveled brown stubs along with bits of green, a sight no longer appealing to passersby. The colourful pots on the porch steps of bright blues and yellows were now dull with dirt and the plants in them were so long dead that even the owner had no clue what they once were. Its dilapidated state made visitors sad thinking that a family with happy children lived there once upon a time when the house had been pretty and alive with laughter.
In front of this particular house was a sign that was lopsided, the paint on its surface peeling but still readable. It let potential clients know that Margery, the resident of the home, was a fortune teller and card reader and just above the black letters was the ‘eye’ the one that sees all, knows all.
Margery owned the house, having inherited it along with her profession which had been a family tradition since the great war. Ms. Morninglory was now thirty-nine years old and holding. She had never married nor held an inclination to be and had no family members or children to complicate her life. She was content. Her profession was enough for her.
If Margery’s house was considered sad, her clients were even more so. Most of them were from her side of town, but once in awhile one of the idle rich would discover her place and they would come by to unburden themselves and ask for direction concerning their spouse or their children. All of her clients, regardless of their station in life, were unhappy with their lot in some way and it was Margery’s job to listen to them and attempt to help them find some small bit of happiness either with their families or, more often, without them. Margery knew with absolute certainty that what people really needed was someone to hear them and to encourage them and the seer was both willing and able.
When clients entered Margery’s home, they could not help but notice the Catholic influence as her walls were covered with pictures of the Madonna and Jesus and there were dozens of crucifixes and lighted religious candles that cast flickering shadows on the faded wallpaper. She was so rooted in her convictions that every morning she would light the candles and pray to the saints for all her clients which may or may not be credited for the changes in the clients’ circumstances.
For years she read tarot cards, inspected palms, or asked questions of the I Ching depending on the needs of her clients. If it were called for, she would sacrifice a chicken for them to appease the Gods. She remained just this side of the law by taking donations for her ‘church’ instead of charging a fee and she was open for business six days a week, oddly Friday through Wednesday.
Thursday, however, was a different story . . . for on Thursday, Margery would turn the sign in her window to ‘closed.’ Then she would grab her patchwork quilted bag, put on her green knitted cap and pink leather fringed coat. Before going out the front door, she would stop in front of the mirror to check her makeup for flaws. When she was satisfied with her quirky appearance, she would pat her black cat on the head and leave for no one save Margery herself knew where.
Wesley Wellington lived on the right side of town in a walk-up townhouse that had a doorman who would tip his hat on seeing the man and call him ‘sir’ as he opened the door every day for the tenant. Wesley was quite distinguished for an elderly gentleman and one who carried himself with an air of distinction that only someone who was once ‘someone’ could own. In all the years the doorman had been employed there, the elderly gent had never divulged a single thing about himself and he remained, if not mysterious, then at least a very private individual about whom nothing personal was known.
Inside the townhome Wesley’s domain was like he was, lean, tidy, and with an order that comes with liking things in their places so the owner knows exactly where to find them. He possessed nothing of excess so there was also nothing of the residence to say who he was beyond a few pictures of the ocean and a wall full of first edition books with beautiful leather bindings. As would be expected of the library belonging to such a person, the books were arranged in alphabetical order so he could find exactly the book he wanted whenever he wanted it. The only other things of note in the room were a brown leather easy chair, a teak Chippendale desk, and a pair of bifocals casually placed on a side table below a brass lamp that he would require to light the dark.
Other than the brisk walk he took six days a week, no one knew what he did the rest of the time he was alone. But, the doorman did know that every Thursday at precisely noon, Mr. Wellington would leave, wearing his fine fedora hat with the front of the brim discretely covering his slightly greying hair and shielding his blue eyes. He would remain gone until late afternoon when he would return as mysteriously as he left.
Without fail every Thursday Margery would visit the local theatre for the matinee where she would sit in the last row in the very dark back right corner, where she occupied the same seat every week. Before the movie began she would be joined by her beau who would take the empty seat she saved for him. Neither of them cared what they saw on the screen, neither said a word to each other. They would simply smile and hold hands in the dark while they had vivid fantasies about being together for about two hours until the movie finished.
Then, when the screen flashed ‘The End,’ the couple would rise and make their way out of the theatre, still walking closely together and taking their time as if not wanting to end the time they had away from their otherwise small worlds. But as they approached the exit and made their way out into the sunshine that blinded them momentarily, Wesley would blow Margery a kiss and she would give him the tiniest bit of a wave then they would turn and go their seperate ways. Wesley would return directly to his townhouse on the right side of town in the same manner every week while Margery returned to the pink house on the wrong side of town in a different manner each week.
Later that particular afternoon, when the doorman spied Mr. Wellington returning, he would swear that the man sported just the tiniest hint of a smile beneath that Fedora as he opened the door for the gentleman.
~”Fortune can, for her pleasure, fools advance, And toss them on the wheels of chance.” ~~ Juvenal