A Lady's Guide To Rising
Melissa Miles

M y hoops hold me, and make feel ready--at least for this day. I walk out the door, and notice the gardener who is holding Mother's latest purchase, a poodle, with his hair cut in an odd pattern. Perhaps the gardener feels sorry for it, or perhaps it reminds of the pruning he needs to do on the hedges. However, I cut my own ponderings much less a dog. As walk along the street, I can't help noticing a large man I have never seen dumping old fish and dirty water on the street, hitting the old cobblestones with fresh slaps. His muscles bulge out of his tattered shirt, and he grins at me with a toothy smile. My first reaction is to think, "Welcome, Stranger." And before I can stop myself I smile, all the while chastising myself, thinking, rise above it.

Finally, I arrive at Madame Derides' and I see other woman, struggling with their hoops, straightening their hats. This is the world I know, but strangely, here is also where I feel I float above effortlessly. The room is immaculate, and Madame Derides walks towards us, motioning to the parlor. But I notice a slight waver, a small trip, by the Madame, and I can't help but smile. Rising above it all can be so hard.

First published: February 2001
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