All Dolled Up

July 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hallie will never be the conventional sort of young lady her family expects her to be. On Sundays, she dolls herself up to be the abominably perfect Hallie they want her to be. On Sundays, her hair is groomed and pinned back, her cheeks are rosy and she wears a nude colour on her lips. On Sundays, she wears button up shirts and pleated skirts. On Sundays, Mary Jane slippers cover her toes and she sits surrounded by lovely China in her parents’ countryside home while her mother serves branzino fish slathered in some fancy vinaigrette to each member their quaint little family. Then the conversation turns to her and they ask if there are any young men who will come knocking on their doorstep any time soon. Her chest constricts and breathing becomes difficult as the expectant gazes of her parents stifle the air around her.

Luckily, this only happens on Sundays.

Given two choices upon graduation from high school, Hallie opted for the one that gave her the most freedom. Liberty was the sea on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, yet even the sea could not protect her from the strict voices of expectation and domesticity. And so it was that Hallie Jane Blakely took off to New York to study art in University. New York is a far, albeit colourful, cry from the coastal town in Maine from which she hails. It is here in New York where she spreads her wings and colours canvases red, orange and yellow. New York is where the working woman thrives and fends for herself the way housewives simply do not.

Smoke protrudes from Hallie’s red lips — red as the eye of a fire. She sits outside on the veranda of her favourite cafe while she reviews an essay for art history. A multitude of people pass without a glance in her direction, and she is thankful for the invisibility the city offers. The population is too large to keep track of every single person, she silently muses. She takes a long, luxurious puff from her cigarette, then goes back to work.

Picture It and Write

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