Saturday, 15 October 2016

Tiny stories 5: Elsie's hat

You bought the hat on a fresh October day in the village of Goodluck, North Carolina. You thought the soft blue straw brought out the colour of your eyes. The roses were an afterthought. They were difficult to attach, but since you'd taken the trouble to dye the pale velvet petals in cold coffee, you kept trying until they were arranged at a flattering angle.

You wore it the evening you met him. You weren't to know that he thought you were pretty but itched to pull the tightly fitting flowers from your honey-coloured braid and see your smile relax.

You wore your Goodluck hat throughout your courtship, until the evening when he did pull it gently from your head and relax your smile. The jaunty blue straw cloche took up its place on a hook on the hall dresser in your new little house. 

Two summers later, you bought some yellow silk flowers, thinking you'd replace the fading coffee-coloured roses. But as you started to unpick your awkward stitching, you felt a pang for your hopeful eighteen-year-old self and let them be.

Fashions changed. Brims widened, feathers replaced flowers, netting became essential. Your blue hat moved from the hall dresser to the top of your wardrobe to the attic. 

You lived your long years carefully behatted. Many of your pretty favourites he still itched to snatch from your head. Some he tolerated, and a few he almost liked. 

But mostly he loved to see your soft hair, as its honey became dove and then snow. 

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