Do you ever see people who look like they don’t belong? Either as a result of their clothes, or their mannerisms, or the way they hold themselves?
I am fascinated by a woman who walks past my house every day. She brings an air of the elegance of yesteryear with her, renewing the sun-faded colour in the streets as she passes.
She looks like a young Helena Bonham Carter, a proverbial English Rose, with chestnut hair cascading to her shoulders in carefully groomed waves, skin that used to be described as alabaster, and Rita Hayworth-red lips.
Today she was wearing a Victorian buttercup silk dress with a pleated skirt and mother of pearl buttoned sleeves. She finished the outfit off with 1940s suede strappy shoes in an olive green suede.
She floats down the street, ethereal, dignified, as if she was the top graduate in her finishing school. Her posture is perfect, her bearing almost regal.
How is it that she exists, so fresh and vital looking in the harsh Australian climate? Why does she not wilt in the hot day’s eye?
I saw her once at the shops. I was glad because I was beginning to wonder if she was a dream. Heavenly in a classic cut linen suit. People watched her as she passed, an iridescent movie star.
I wonder who she is. An actress? A designer? A poet?
I imagine her, eating thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches from the finest china plates while discussing French literature and art. Unflappable, witty, respectful.
She is such a contrast to all the other women I see in their low slung jeans, tops with the bra straps showing, fake tans, and attitudes of entitlement.
She is what used to be referred to as a lady. I wish I could be like her. Surely that would make my life different, better. She passes by my house each day, truant from an English country garden, and I wonder if she is aware of the power of her refinement.