The Vanity Table

My mother used to have a dressing table 125that was done up in dark blue fabric decorated with gold thread that criss-crossed in a diamond pattern.  It was kidney shaped and consisted of two pillars of three drawers on either side, with room for a small stool in the center.  On top was placed a kidney-shaped glass, cut to the exact dimensions of the table with a 3-part glass mirror fixed to the back.
I loved that table.  It was like a huge jewelry box.  My mother was very neat and tidy, and everything had its place.  One drawer held all of her gloves.  She had dainty wrist gloves made of white lace, grey suede, and fawn.  She had leather driving gloves and thick gloves decorated with fur.  In another drawer, she kept silk scarves, neatly folded into piles of jeweled hues.  In the third drawer on the left hand side she had a collection of embroidered handkerchiefs, in piles of neatly ironed triangles.  On the other side she kept her jewelry in various cardboard boxes, marked Bentalls on them.  (Bentalls was the name of the local department store in Kingston-upon-Thames.) Here were pearl earrings, pearl strands, and heavy pendants on metal chains, brooches, and ear-bobs.
As a child I would happily spend hours sitting there while my mother was out at work, and my grandmother was downstairs doing the laundry or making lunch.  Then, “What do you think you’re doing?”  And I would jump to see my mother standing in the doorway. I flushed, guiltily aware that she didn’t like my going through her things.  My mother would sigh as she walked towards me.  Why aren’t you practicing your violin?
–Cynthia Haggard writes short stories, novels and poetry.  During the day, she is a medical writer and has recently opened her own business.  For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories.  For more about her medical writing services, go to clarifyingconcepts.  (c) 2008. All rights reserved.

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