find-a-story magic box

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Worth It

Doran frowned at her gray dress. Seven different fabrics. One of which was illuminated here and there with faintly silver threads. Eleven different shades of gray and almost-white, the palest never quite so pale as the whiteink coating her skin or the whiter-than-white snowblind of her waist-length hair. Her eyes were dyed a luminous purple and she sighed at the darker lilac of her irises as she stared at herself in the mirror.
She wished her dress was lilac.

Her mother swept into her room, elegant in a pearl gray tunic and storm gray leggings, supple granite colored boots to her knees and ebony hair caught in a silvery clasp to cascade down her back. She smiled at Doran, her cat-green eyes centered with golden irises a-sparkle with pride. Doran tried to smile back, and it must have fooled her mother, because the tall, willowy woman gave her daughter’s shoulders a fond squeeze before plucking the silver and moonstone necklace from the dresser and placing it around Doran’s neck.

Doran’s room was white. Her bed was mist-gray slashed here and there with charcoal and black and the bedspread alone was made of four different fabrics. Texture and weave gave the appearance of even greater variety. The pearl-gray carpet was like a cloud beneath Doran’s slivery-gray high heels.

Perched on the chair in the corner, Doran’s pet caline sprawled in a puddle of violet and indigo fur, the plume on the end of her prehensile tail a vivid splash of orange where it curled across her tiny pink nose and pale yellow whiskers. The caline opened silvery eyes, the pupils vertical slits, and yawned at Doran, showing a pale gray mouth.

Doran stared at herself in the full-length mirror, and tried not to weep as her mother fastened the moonstone necklace around her neck. The dress was beautiful. The shoes were beautiful. The necklace and her hair were beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Ellon would be handsome when he picked her up in his black and charcoal suit, his skin stained one shade darker charcoal, his hair a deeper ebon than his clothing. The slivery orchids he would bring for her corsage would be beautiful, and the crystal and sea-after-a-storm decorations at the gala would be beautiful.

Doran’s eyes darted towards her caline.

But they would not be that.

“Doran,” her mother’s voice snapped her mind away from its misery. “Tell me you are not thinking of wearing…” her mother’s mouth twisted as though she had bitten into excrement laced with unripe sourmelon, “…colors again.”

“No, Mama,” Doran murmured, trying to hold her mother’s eyes in the mirror and not to stare at her feet.

“This is a childish fancy,” her mother chided, fussing with Doran’s perfect hair. “We have been over this. Only animals wear colors. Only animals display color.”

“Because they are uncultured,” Doran replied dutifully. “Because they lack the sophistication to express themselves in tone, texture, weave and gilt.”

Her mother smiled. “That is it exactly, my love. Now.” Her smile grew. “Finish up here. Your young Ellon should be arriving at any moment.”

Doran smiled back in the mirror as her mother left, closing the white, white door behind her. The smile vanished as soon as her mother did, and Doran stared at herself with something close to loathing. The caline leapt down from the chair and circled Doran’s ankles, purring.

Doran lifted the hems of her long skirts and stalked towards her closet, shoving aside black, white, gray, pearl gray, ebon, storm cloud, charcoal, snow white and seastorm colored shirts, dresses, pants and skirts. Like an accusing brand, a dress hung at the back of her closet, forbidden, dangerous…

“Beautiful…” Doran sighed.

It was made of only two different kinds of fabrics. It was the most perfect amethyst and moon-kissed violet. It had a sash of spangled indigo like twilight fallen to earth and ribbons of enchanted forest green threaded through with warmest thread of gold winking like an accusation in the light from her room.

Doran pulled the forbidden dress out and held it to herself in the mirror.

“I would shame my parents,” she whispered. “I could be thrown out of the school.” She stared at herself in the mirror, her purple eyes and violet irises shining with unshed tears. “Ellon would never speak to me again and all my friends could cast me aside, or worse, stand with my accusers should I be brought before a tribunal. My life, as I know it, would be over. Ruined.”

The doorbell rang. Dimly, Doran heard her mother greeting Ellon as she welcomed him into their home.

Doran grinned at herself in the mirror, tossed the colorful gown onto her monochromatic bed, and quickly began to undress.

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