I knew a lady , old and proud. Money was in short supply but from her dress and demeanor that would never show. She never complained . She had little but her privacy and guarded it closely. What her life had been and what it held was never disclosed. She saw no need to comment and everything about her said “Don’t touch”. If I saw her, business only, tea was offered in china cups and saucers but no biscuits. Seen in the street she would tip her head slightly but avoid all conversation. What lead her to that place I will never know. Had there been love or tragedy. I will never know. She never discussed her past. Pride kept her going . Like an iceberg only the tip was showing but she was not innately cold: only closed. But over time by not making any fuss I gained slight entrance to her world. She went to church but nothing more was said. A biscuit appeared beside the tea. A daughter was mentioned but not in any detail. Her gaze became more quizzical but she never asked a question except about business. Her flat was tidy and uncluttered as you might expect, free of photographs or pictures in the main.
One day I had some music playing in my car. I loved the tune and hummed it as I drove. Felt it lift me from the everyday and gain that brief suspension we call peace. All to soon I had to stop park, but lost in thought I hummed it as I walked. Her door swiftly opened as I knocked, catching me still humming the refrain. A faint expression passed across her face as she stepped aside to let me in her house. “You like music” she asked as we sat down. “Yes, very much it’s one of my abiding passion”. She nodded and smiled a little bit, before she got her file from the desk. Tea was made and biscuits soon appeared. She looked at me and I felt an honoured guest. Things droned on and I made several notes and soon we were finished for the day. As I rose to go she said. “I’ve got something you might like”. I was surprised, of course, but just said. “Oh, that’s nice” and briefly she vanished from the room.
Returning she held a picture in her hand. She offered it to me but nothing more was said. Looking I saw an old photograph black and white. It was a women dancing on a stage. One arm raised and held above her face: she looked quite beautiful. slim and full of grace. I raised my eyes and saw her looking straight at me. “I was a ballet dancer in my youth.”. With that she grasped the album from my hand. Opened the door and stepped back to let me pass. “Thankyou” I said .” Thankyou” I said and left