She stands next to me. A shadowed silhouette against the bright light, her face and hour-glass figure in perfect profile. The fingers of one gloved hand rest gently on the brim of her top hat; playing cards and a long peacock feather tucked into the band. The high collar of a ruffled cream blouse rests against her neck, the top buttons open to show an ornate brass key on a double chain, heavy against her skin. Black cinch, laced up at the back, with a gold pattern; a Celtic swirl that dizzies the eye and confuses the mind. A heavy Victorian-style skirt sweeps over her hips, in a cut that sits above her knees at the front, but curves down in flouncing bustles to a trailing train at the back. Lace tights lead down to brown boots, laced at the front and buffed to a shine. The only sound is the tick tick of the fob watch pinned to her waist.
She turns. Slowly. Her hand flickers through the air and a crimson rose appears in her fingers. Blue eyes soft behind the glint of her glasses. The tangled chains of her many necklaces clink as she moves. A twist of her wrist and from the point where her lace glove meets the tight cuff of her shirt, a purple ribbon slicks out and flutters through the air, the gold letters on its surface shining in the light, “… fact and fantasy.” The rise of violin music and an arc of her arm sweeps her hat from her head and she bows low, one foot elegant in front of the other. The ribbon sinks to the floor. The dark lips curve in a smile. “My dear.”