Character study of Ethyl Thayer in "Golden Pond" for contest entry
|Beyond the Golden
“Norman, come here. Come quickly.”
“Hurry up, Norman, come see this.”
“Look in the mirror. Look closely. What do you see?”
“I see an old woman yelling.”
“Don’t toy with me, Norman; look at me. Look how I’ve aged.”
“Goddamn if you aren’t right. You’ve gotten old.”
“Remember how happy we were last summer? How the loons welcomed us back and made us feel young? You remember, don’t you?”
“So what’s to yell about?”
“Can’t you see? I’ve changed, Norman. The magic is gone. What’s happened to me? Where have all the years gone?”
“To hell in a basket, Ethel. I’m going to go take a nap.”
“Go ahead and sleep. I’m going to get ready. You old poop.”
There was a time when my skin and I woke up as frisky as a two-day-old lamb, blemish free and exuberant. Oh, for one more day of exuberance, one more summer on the lake. An extra dollop on my jowls. God how they’ve drooped. Drag that cream and rub hard into them. Put plenty on my turkey neck—gobble, gobble—may as well sport tail feathers while I’m at it. There, let it soak in, tighten up the creases.
One, two, three, four, five lines across my forehead, an odd number. Henry says it’s because I squint when I read the paper, but that’s not it. No, no, these are thought lines, currents of concentration, one for Henry, one for Chelsea, one for myself, one for Perfection, and one for God. You never know. It’s not squinting, Norman, it’s thinking. I still have plenty left to think about.
Eyebrows need plucking again. ‘Expand the space between the eye and brow,’ isn’t that what Operah said? I hope Chelsea doesn’t inherit my baggy eyes. Gotta pinch them every morning to wake them up, too. Why does everything need pinching these days? Good god, these age spots are horrendous. Gotta remember to wear my hat in the sun. I wonder what Norman sees when he looks at me. Maybe if I broke his glasses. No, no, that wouldn’t do. He’d stumble over his own feet and break my good china. He’s no spring chicken either.
What on earth am I going to do with this hair? Maybe I should spend the money and get one of those little old lady quaffs, have it died, hide the gray, maybe bleached blond for a change, give Norman a heart attack, it would. I like my mousy brown with gray highlights. It actually suit me, suits my skin tone, my tan and black clothes. It’s easy. A nip here and a nip there with the scissors, just enough to keep it off the neck. Need a little more bangs on the left to hide the receding hairline—Norman has more hair than I do. Can’t get the bangs to lay flat. I guess I will wear a hat today. And clean these glasses! Looks like I took a bath in them! Gotta get them straightened again. Why god gave me one ear higher up than the other, I don’t know. Glasses always sitting cock-eyed on my nose. Not much chance of them falling off though; not with this nose!
Maybe a little blush this morning. Yes, that’s better. Not too much. Don’t like to draw attention to myself. Keep it plain. There now. Tan turtleneck, brown shirt, walking shoes. Where’s my hat?
“Norman, are you ready?”
“Ready for what?”
“For our walk.”
“We already took our walk.”
“That was yesterday, Norman. Now put on your coat on and let’s go.”
“My God, you’re a pretty old dame, aren’t you?”
“Oh, Norman; still my Knight in shining armor!”