Jacky Fowler's Stuff

July 9, 2010

The Scarlet Silk Scarf

Filed under: FridayFlash — jackyfowler @ 7:26 pm
Tags: ,

This is my first attempt at #fridayflash:

Warm Riviera sunlight streamed through the open French doors, and the filmy voile curtains only just rippled in the slightest of breezes.

“Oh, damn it. God damn it to hell.” The accent was still recognisably American.

At the ornate bureau in a corner of the high-ceilinged room sat a woman, surrounded by unruly piles of paper. A pen scratched haltingly, and Izzy’s face contorted with the effort of writing.

She glanced once again at the page topping the nearest pile, simply inscribed “Ma Vie”. Her mouth pursed in a moue of discontent. A life so packed with incident surely shouldn’t be so hard to write about? But some things were almost too painful to recall. Things she had tried so hard to bury in the deepest, darkest recesses of memory.

“Enough!” The anguished outburst rent the silence.

The woman flung herself from chair to sofa, curled into a tight ball and sighed. One hand clutched a crumpled handkerchief and the other plucked relentlessly at the tassels on the cushion under her head.

The loud click-clack of high heels on parquet heralded the visitor’s approach, so Izzy had time to sit up, smooth back her hair and paste a smile of welcome to her face before the tap at the door swiftly preceded its opening and an anxious face peered round it.

“Darling Mary,” she said, as she rose with the matchless grace of which she was still capable and glided forward.

“How lovely to see you.” She held out her arms, Mary came close, and there was the faint ‘mwah, mwah’ of air kisses as Izzy proffered each of her carefully rouged and powdered cheeks in languorous succession.

Sinking back onto the sofa, Izzy waved her handkerchief vaguely in Mary’s direction. “Sit down, do.”

“How are you today?” asked Mary Desti as she perched on the edge of a high backed chair. Her tone was light, but concerned.

The shrug said it all. “I’m fine, just finding it a little difficult to ‘summon the muse’”.

“Well I thought you might need a little cheering up, so I’ve brought you something. I saw it this morning, thought instantly of you and I just couldn’t resist it.” Mary brought out a shallow, ribbon-tied box from behind her back and held it out.

Seeing the name embossed in gold on the box, Izzy smiled and grasped it eagerly. Placing it on the sofa beside her she tugged impatiently at the ribbon and then tossed the lid on the floor. She paused for a moment and smiled over at Mary.

“You’re such a dear. I must admit I was feeling a little down – thinking of Sergei and the children, you know. But now I’m simply agog to see what this is.”

Lifting the tissue paper, Izzy gasped as she took in the bright and beautiful iridescent hues of the scarlet silk scarf folded layer upon layer within the box.

“It is so ‘you’, isn’t it?” queried Mary earnestly.

Izzy plucked the scarf from the box and wound it around and around her neck and shoulders before dancing across to Mary and kissing her firmly on the cheek.

“Darling, it’s just about the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in months – I adore it. Thank you so much. It’s perfect – I shall wear it tonight.” Izzy smiled naughtily “My handsome young Benoît has a new car, and he’s promised me an unforgettable ride.”

******

The mid-September evening was still warm and light as Izzy, Mary and a small group of friends ambled lazily along the Promenade d’Anglais.

Izzy had dressed carefully for the occasion, the slight thickening of the waist hidden by the flowing dress, the painted scarlet silk scarf draped around her shoulders covered her upper arms and her face was as artfully painted as the scarf. She had been in sparkling form at dinner.

They chattered like starlings as they walked and brief bursts of laughter floated out over the railings and dissipated onto the beach before being swept out to sea with the outgoing tide.

“Ah, here he is,” cried Izzy, as a smart silver blue open topped sports car pulled up slowly at the kerb. “Benoît Falchetto everyone,” she announced. “Isn’t he just divine?” she added, soto voce.

The young man in the car stood up and bowed to the cluster of people on the boulevarde. “Bon soir.”

Izzy swept the red scarf firmly around her neck and body and struck a pose. “Adieu, mes amis. Je vais à la gloire.”

She smiled and stepped forward, stopping to whisper in Mary’s ear “Forget glory my dear – je vais à l’amour.”

She caressed the sleek side of the Amilcar before seating herself beside Benoît. Izzy smiled her thanks as the low door was swung shut with a satisfactory click. Her red scarf floated behind her. It fluttered bravely, a crimson streak across the sky, before dropping lazily over the side of the car. Izzy waved regally as they set off, and the car picked up speed.

Suddenly the scarf snaked into the spokes of the rear wheel, caught and wrapped round and round and round the axle. Izzy’s head jerked back viciously and she was dragged bodily over the side of the car. A strangulated scream emanated from her as she hit the cobblestones with terrific force.

Benoît turned to look at the passenger seat. Shock registered on his face as he realised Izzy was no longer beside him. It took several sickening seconds for the car to screech to a halt and Izzy was dragged forcefully behind it, her body jolting and jerking erratically.

The sound of screaming filled the air as Mary ran towards her friend.

“Isadora! Isadora!” she cried. Throwing herself on her knees, Mary reached out, but then drew back her hands and put them to her mouth in an attitude of prayer. “Oh my God.”

Izzy’s crumpled body lay lifeless on the road, her final pose that of an unwanted doll dropped by careless hands. The scarlet silk scarf lay like a gaping wound between her body and the car.

Medical aid was summoned, but it was stated that Isadora Duncan had been strangled and killed instantly.

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