She's always watching and waiting for something unexpected to occur.
|The Lady checked her watch. Not that her watch really mattered much in the long run. But it felt normal, and she liked normal even when normal was the hardest state to achieve. She’d, however, perfected the art of normal; tying shoe laces, dotting her eyes with little hearts whenever she wrote letters to the omniscient third person above (who had failed to answer four out of the six she’d sent, thank you very much) and, her favorite, checking the silver watch. The one that hung snugly against her skin. It flashed at her, winking, and she grinned back. It had been a bother to learn to tell time, really. First to learn, to her disappointment, that, no, the clock was not really her grandfather, no, the hands could not be used as weapons to slap her enemies and no, there was no chance that if she stared at it’s face long enough she’d win the staring contest. Despite their rather deceiving names, watches did not actually come with attached human appendages. But she’d learned it quick enough, watching as time on her watch ticked by at an even, sluglike pace, a hilarious endeavor that often sent her into sidesplitting rants.
It wouldn’t have been so funny, she reasoned with herself, if it weren’t the fact that it moved so slowly. Watching the seconds tick by- tick... tick... one mississippi.... two mississippi...- while outside the steel walls that cocooned her those seconds hurdled past like sprinters on a trampoline treadmill. Era’s passed much like minutes, dynasties like seconds, eons even quicker. Through the tiny window she’d seen falling and living and stranger than fiction occur. She’d watched as hats grew bigger, clothes grew scarcer, ideas and inventions repeated themselves in new and fantastic ways. She’d walked, her worn heels now clomping more than clicking, through the same streets that always seemed to have different pavings and histories. The houses she past always different colors with new families and new dogs and new lights in the windows. Far too scattered were her visits for someone to look out one of those glass panels and recognize her, call out with fingers pointing in gleaming arrows, screaming look! there goes the Lady! There goes the Lady I saw! The Star Lady! No one ever recognizes her. And, she thinks, no one ever will. Maybe one day she’ll make it so someone will see her and remember her. But for now she’s content in silent existence, presence whispering through centuries like ghosts through a wall. The Lady is happy to simply live as she does. Her jean jacket slung over her shoulder, red hair moving through the fingers of the air, smirk set firmly against ruby lips.
Her words were often sarcastic. But that was simply how she’d conditioned herself to be. One does not simply venture through the vortexes and come out trailing a rainbow. Reality sets in deeper when one has had the chance to see reality develop. Her phrases are sharp, as is her tongue, and her mind expands farther than the stars she’s seen, though she prefers to keep those in check, everything within her mind a jumbled mess that at some point she ought to organize, but isn’t quite sure on the method of filing quite yet. And even if her knowledge does expand past those of the millions of lightyears she’s traveled through, she prefers witty to philosophical any day. The comets didn’t get far from trailing Freudian theory after all.
Her style is her own, and changes as constantly as she wants it to. Far too often she likes to wear red, even if a cashier from 1987 said it clashed with her hair. She wasn’t even sure what that meant. Clashed. It sounded absolutely delightful, and after hearing it for the first time images of symbols and bumper cars skidded through her head. After that she’d made an effort to wear red more often. It wouldn’t be until a visit to a bistro in 1993 that she’d learn clash did not in fact mean ‘as happy as a bumper car’. Luckily for her, The Lady always did like to follow her own agenda. And to her, agenda simply meant her everything; schedule, calendar and dictionary included.
She wasn’t one for the specifics. If asked what her favorite was, she’d say ‘everything’. If asked who her favorite was, she’d say everyone. And if you’d asked her right then and there when her favorite time was, she’d tell you time itself was something to marvel at, and she couldn’t choose it if she had to.
The Lady, though known for being truthful, was not against lying.
She did in fact have a favorite time, one she never allowed herself to return to, and one, she was sure, she’d never see again.
The Lady’s favorite time had been the chair.
Waiting for the humming of gears to cool from a rather hazardous trip, she’d stumbled upon the party of a 1920’s mansion celebrating the birthday of a lord's son. The house was large, the lights were bright and the music oozed from cracks in the air, and soon she’d found herself donning the dress and headpiece, strolling in as if she’d been there all along. It was easy to do that. Hardly a practice thing, though she’d attest to having a great deal of it. It seemed to be just one other perk to ripping through the fabric of time. You were there, and you’d always be there. A fixture as mundane as those of the hands of a clock, glanced over and understood, but never analyzed. Bubbly in hand, eyes on the floor, The Lady had stood for the longest time watching the colors and sequins and tassels as they swayed to the music. After a while her feet had grown tired, and she’d lounged in a chair off to the side, watching.
A woman with dark hair curled tight near her head, swayed happily to her own tune while another woman, her brown bob held by a black band, spun with her fingers wrapped securely around a man’s. Laughter echoed, bouncing off the walls with the enthusiasm of a rubber ball. It wasn’t a sound she was used to. Not in groups. The warmth outdid any fire, and light that of any star, the gentle tug of ocean breeze far more potent than that of any dying planet. A man asked her to dance and she said no, watching as he made his way back to the crowd to talk to others.
And she continued to watch, hardly able to help as her cupid's bow lifted, the corners of her mouth turning up once more into that smirk she wore like clothing. It was silly, really. Watching people dance with such fascination. Twirling, the tassels of their dresses grasping at dark matter like fins of fishes, the music surrounding it all, hunting its prey and tying the whole lot together with a bow. The way they danced, they looked like stars.
The Lady had seen the creation and revival of planets. She’d seen the fall and renewal of cities, the birth and death of kings and queens, and the stars dance, attached to sky like it was the deepest of flypaper. She’d learned secrets of the universe, created her own and scratched them into forever with a quivering quill. Lounging in that chair, watching people, so unaware of the etchings above them, what they could and should and, if they ever wanted to, would be. And yet they simply stayed with their feet planted firmly, dancing like the nebulas they’d never truly see. Her legs crossed and she leaned back, the flute raised high, shining under the dim lights like a chalice of amber.
In that moment, The Lady had felt like a God amongst men.
And she hadn’t been quite sure if she liked it.
The champagne tasted funny. That was the only reasons she could think of to justify her leaving; the champagne tasted funny. Placing it on the edge of the chair, where it teetered for a moment before grabbing hold of the velvet, The Lady let one sharp heel stab into the skin on the carpet, moving along with easy and meaningful steps. Dancers around her, with hands stitched together in sturdy links, swept past, mouths open in gleeful smiles, their eyes all glowing under the lights. The Lady had turned her head, watching them. Her own hands stitched together behind her back and her own eyes sparkled with a malice that belonged, her own mouth moving to smile sweetly as a serpent. The she spun on her heel and walked out, into the air thick with salt and champagne bubbles, eyes turned towards the heavens to try and spot the star she’d passed yesterday.
The Lady turned towards her attacker, a blonde man of unknown age, fine built, young face and far too much drink. He tried to hide a hiccup, doing so foolishly, and outstretched one smooth hand.
His mind woke up as he muttered the word, so against his years of extensive training, etiquette quickly taking hold like a light switch flicking up with a loud, pragmatic snap. “I mean... may I have this dance?”
She had been intrigued from the start by the enigmatic creature that stood before her. Not by his looks -average- or his apparel -expensive- but more from the fact that he was able to maintain stature and stand while absolutely intoxicated with moneys finest bubbly. So she had accepted, if not for the thrill then at least to pass the time and quench all curiosities. With a few words of thanks their hands met. No sparks, no electricity, not even a buzz of happiness. The two of them spun underneath the sky that seemed to watch in fascination, mimicking their movements as two comets met and swirled and burst into a shower of flames and dust.
Once more, the Lady was struck by the mere normalcy of it all. From afar, the colors and dancers and conversation looked like a fantastical show. From up close, as she suspected, it was a lot of spinning and trying not to trod on each others most awkward of appendages. But the smile was still on her face, the one with the glare on one corner and the lust on the other, all seven sins falling onto her well-formed features; envy and pride, that night, taking a seat on her cheekbones while gluttony sat comfortably on one bony shoulder, resulting in a strange tingle that shot up the young mans arm. And it made him squirm and sweat and try to figure out what to do. She had that effect on men, leaving them unsure of whether they’d fallen in love or the other way around because, as most time-steppers know, love has a nasty habit of falling on people at the worst and most inconvenient of times. It hardly mattered. It never had. Like every time, she’d thank them, leave and move onto other things.
She was the literal boondoggle of the wibbly-world.
And she would do that again now.
Their hands leaving each other, the mans square lips opened as if to plead in some cliched fashion that they’d been meant for eachother the whole time and that if she’d only stay, the world would be hers. She simply mimicked him, speaking when he could not, and telling him that she had to go because there wasn’t much for her here anyway, and if he’d like to follow her he could, but he wouldn’t find her because she was rather good at leaving and hiding and never being found. It was a skill, she’d explained (in that manner in which you’d think it was a simple chat over tea and snickerdoodles), that not many had but many wished they could possess.
And then she did leave.
He didn’t follow.
But, then again, they never did.
Her walk towards the shuttle had been a lonely one, with hardly a parallel puff of breath to remind her of life on earth or friends with entwined fingers. The loneliness was not foreign or alien or even unwanted, but it was not relished. She was comfortable with her life and often decided that comfort was the best way to live. She did wish, on many of the first stars she drank in through starving grey eyes, that comfort allowed adventure more than what her own life allowed. Adventure, she had decided long ago, was only an adventure when you had a story to tell to someone else.
She never did.
Her ascent towards the stars was once more alone, no followers or friends. She peered out a window, tracing the lines made between slow debris and finally allowed the smallest of smiles to spread, like a Orions belt, across her face.
The Lady still travels alone, and the Lady is still discontent, and the Lady is still smiling through it, hopping through nurseries of antimatter, spattered as randomly as paint flicked from the artists bristles.
It may have not been a life filled with others. But it was her own, and she loved it. And for as long as she could allow she’d try and continue to love it until the very moment when the galaxy would break.
She checked her watch once more and set off to find another time she could write herself into.