This is the result of a triple challenge. Jane Dougherty of Jane Dougherty Writes came up with one of her usual gems in response to ronovanwrites’ Haiku Challenge. I told her that there was much more to the story in the John Singer Sargent painting she chose. (You can see the painting by clicking on the link to Jane’s blog post here.) She challenged me to tell it. Although I’m not quite certain this is the true story, I’m posting it anyway.
She wore her hauteur like a mask at a masquerade ball. It was a flimsy veil to hide her true feelings, one that might easily slip, revealing the depth of her misery. She had been the queen of the county—the proud Marguerite Sommerville, living in the ground house on the hill. Now her husband was dead, leaving her with debts she had not known existed. There was also the discovery of other women in other towns who claimed his name for their children. The neighborhood gossips relished each tidbit as it was revealed; each dainty morsel multiplied and divided like fish and loaves. I remained her friend. She needed a true one. I would pour her another glass of wine and wait for the mask to slip. The salty tears would soon come. Tomorrow she would don her mask again, and I would help her face the future.