Reason to Be | The first 500 words
I remember the first time I saw Diana. I still see her, even now, when I close my eyes, the afterimage of a dream.
I remember the way her long, dark hair flowed around her face when she threw her arms around some tuxedo, embracing him, kissing his cheek, smiling at some stray remark. I remember the way her face glowed like a candle glimpsed through branches in the woods when she waved at some other guest across the room. I remember the black sheath of her dress riding on her body like silken air as she danced among the reception crowd, a form lean and graceful as a cat.
Most of all, though, I think I remember her laughter best. It was husky and rich, as if she wouldn’t be able to breath if she continued because it came from so deep within her. I could hear it over the burbling of the crowd, over the saxophone-heavy light jazz from the trio on the corner, over the clink of silver on black-and-gold-leaf china and cut crystal. I could even hear it over the voice of the commanding, silver-haired gentleman standing right in front of me. I recalled, vaguely, that his words, mere seconds before, had some purpose, some meaning to me. His voice joined the sounds of the rest of the room, blending into the background, leaving only a whisper of her laugh, and the steady click of her heals on the heavy Italian tile as she walked toward me.
“Daddy!” No, not me — the silver-haired man. She grasped his arm and rose on tip-toes to peck him on the check. He patted her hand, and his face brightened with a smile that was almost, just almost, out of character for the man I knew. His princess had arrived.
“I’ll bet you’re still talking business, business, business.” Her voice was like her laugh, rich and musical. “This is a party; you should be enjoying yourself.”
“For you, dear, it’s a party.” He hugged her, kissed her forehead. “For me and the rest of the Board, it’s a ‘fund-raiser.’”
“And I suppose I’ve interrupted your pitch to your latest mark.” Her voice still laughed, at least for me. She aimed her eyes at me, pale blue-gray with a dark ring around the edge, and I felt myself begin to melt. My expensive designer formal suit felt odd, as if I had, inexplicably, put it on backward. Or maybe it was the feeling that, perhaps, those sparkling blue-gray eyes could see through it like rice paper held up to a lamp. I took a quick drink and tried my best to avoid not looking back at her.
“Oh, I wouldn’t put it that way. Please, Ben, allow me to introduce my daughter, Diana. Diana, this is Benjamin Locke, one of the University’s distinguished alumni.”
“Ms. Van Der Meer.” I extended a hand. She grasped it, light but firm, confident; I fought the urge to kiss it. “I’m pleased to meet you.”
About Lamar Henderson (37 posts)
Elegant Entropy is the official blog of Lamar Henderson, writer, designer, general all-around goofball.
Lamar’s collection of short fiction, Ten Minutes ’til the Savages Come, was self-published in 2006, with an e-book version coming out in 2011. A French adaptation of his role-playing game Phantasm was published as Imago in 1997. He is also the author of two as yet unpublished novels.
Currently, Lamar works as a Web designer, graphic artist, writer and editor, and lives with his wife, Stephanie, and their overly rambunctious cat, Cooper, in Columbia, MO, where he also enjoys writing about himself in the third person.