Sylvan woke slowly, as is from a drug, and smiled, long before she dared open her eyes. She turned ever so slightly and crinkled one eyelid, afraid that what she wanted to see, she would not see. Life, however, did not disappoint her.
It had not done so in what seemed a very long time. In reality, it had not really been that long since life broke her heart each day and all day. Her new life had driven the old to the shadows; she had driven the evil little hag, pummeled it, shaken it, and showed it the steel in her. Like the coward, it was, it had fled, leaving her standing in her radiant new reality. She had been joyously growing in that garden, when just the day before, she had just been lifted, a rose, to be replanted, cherished, tended, and given proud place in the center of a new garden.
She eased herself to the edge of the bed, willing herself weightless; she stood and gazed longingly at the lump of covers. The covers stirred and she froze. They settled, and she tiptoed across the hotel room to the pretend kitchen with its pretend coffee pot. She slipped a pouch of pretend coffee from the tray, slicing the package with her fingernail so it would not fill the air with the jackhammer sound of torn plastic. She tiptoed to the bathroom, taking twelve minutes to close the door silently, and filled the pot there so the water would not make noise. The pretend coffee at long last on its way to spurious existence she stepped to the long mirror.
She slipped off her milky white nightgown, seductively, as if practicing, and lovingly folded it. She laid it on the dresser, stroked it, romanced it with her eyes, and bade it rest, wished it farewell, thanked it for a job well done, hoped it a happy retirement.
She looked again to the bed, hoping she would not see it winking at her, hoping she would see it winking at her. It did not wink, so she slid to the chair, rummaged quietly, and plucked a wide shouldered white shirt from the pile. She put the shirt on, left sleeve first, shuddering as her arm slid through the surprisingly rough cloth. Awkwardly pulling the collar across her shoulder, she place her right arm in the other sleeve and straightened the collar, the top pushing her hair up, reaching the base of her head. She drew the shirt closed; it wrapped almost half way again around her slender waist, but struggled to close around her chest. She rolled the long sleeves so her hands were again exposed.
She lifted the lapels, covering her face, dipped her nose into the fabric. She inhaled deeply, nostrils quivering, her insides liquefying, blushing. She dropped the lapels, embarrassed, and looking down; she fumbled with the buttons, all on the wrong side, confusing her normally nimble fingers. She gave up at the forth button from the bottom, stepped to the mirror and stared for a long moment, then nodded her head with one determined nod.
For the first time in forever, she had not woken to her mother sitting on her bed, stroking her hair. She shed a small tear, realizing for the first time that she would never wake that way again. She stood straight, gave the mirror a brave smile, and wiped her tear. She would do the waking from now on. She silently mouthed, “Thank you mom,” and fought off another tear.
Sylvan walked gently to the window, not meaning the erotic wiggle she did not know how to avoid. She slid the curtains open, and cringed at the rasp of the rings on the rod. She would have curtains that opened smoothly. Her first promise to herself about how hers would be. She cranked the window slowly open, praying it would not creak, and thanking heaven that it did not. Her windows would raise and not crank; a second promise. Things were shaping up nicely.
She moved quickly, realizing that the covers would untangle on their own as soon as the air and light stirred them. Hastily pouring coffee in a mug that someone must have intended for a child, she walked to the bed, as quickly as she could without soiling the shirt with the brown swill. She sat the child’s mug on the nightstand, and sat gingerly on the edge of the bed. Sylvan gently drew back the covers, exposing a black mane, and stroked it, softly, lovingly, seductively, saying, “Good morning darling.”