Slower Than Austen Slow
“Miss Eliza Bennett, let me persuade you to follow my example,
and take a turn about the room. I assure you, it is very refreshing…”
– Miss Bingley, “Pride & Prejudice”
“Ah, Spring! When a young man’s fancy turns to love!” Or not. Finding romance in a small town is not as easy as one would think. The following is something I wrote to a friend when there was the slightest hint of a hope of romance in the air:
The man I adore – we shall call him Mr. Rochester – bought some land! He probably purchased it so that he can build a home he feels is worthy of me with his own two hands, and that’s why this whole romance thing is taking so long. The pace here in Reliance makes Jane Austen look like a loose woman!
There was an open house where I work. We had wassail and coffee and cookies and a meat and cheese platter and crackers and of course, free calendars. We were supposed to dress up so I wore my swoopy skirt that I love so much and a knit top beneath a velvet jacket I’d purchased at a thrift store and hadn’t worn yet (it still had tags!). It has a faux fur collar and the sleeves flair out ever so gently at the wrist.
I had taken extra time with my makeup and my hair was behaving, so I was sad when the day was drawing to a close and Mr. Rochester hadn’t shown. The latest he’s ever come is 12:00 or 12:30 so when 1:00 passed I didn’t expect to see him at all.
I couldn’t believe it when he came flying in at fifteen minutes to closing! I didn’t have any specific tasks to do at that time but wanted to get where he could FINALLY see me in my swoopy skirt, which meant he would need to see me at full length and not from behind a counter! So, being the smooth girl I am, I kept swooping around here and there, trying to find things to do that required vast movement, but he was in talking to the manager, which means his back was to me.
Finally he came out and took a few feasty items and was talking to people here and there. I swooped right through the small group, which now looking back was quite rude of me (zoinks!), but never really was able to get a good moment. He left soon after. I should have stayed where I was, which was at my desk, as he was standing facing it! I was too desperate for him to see me in my swoopy skirt!!
Being a cockeyed optimist I tell myself that he of COURSE saw me and was so awed by my dressed up appearance that he couldn’t speak! He then went rushing out so that he could get back to work on that house. Yes, I’m SURE that’s what happened!
In fact, I’m positive that THESE were actually the thoughts running through his head: “There she is, the beautiful creature! How will I ever get the courage to ask her out?! Perhaps we could just take a refreshing turn about the room…as soon as I finish building that house. I must make haste!”
Alas, nothing ever came of this. Or maybe it did, it’s just happening so slowly as to be invisible to the naked eye.