Every Silver Lining

"Every silver lining's got a touch of grey."
--The Grateful Dead--

The necklace is gold, with a diamond set in the center, a real one. It must have cost at least $400. It's beautiful, elegantly simple, thin and will look absolutely stunning on your neck when you wear it to that party you've got to go to next week.

This is the life, of course. You married into money, and now have everything you could have ever dreamed of owning. You live in a mansion, you have casual diamonds and dressy diamonds, your wardrobe would probably feed an entire small African country for three years, and you have another home in the country in case big city life becomes too much for you.

There are maids and butlers to tend to your every need. There are silk bed sheets and every appliance anyone could dream of. Everything you own is top-of-the-line, everything in your house is gorgeous and worth more than the average working man's monthly paycheck. You can spend your days by the pool or at the spa, or shopping at only the finest stores, or hosting dinner parties, or chatting with friends, or speaking to your husband at work, or drinking champagne in the living room.

Your nails are perfect, your hair is always stunning, your makeup impeccable. You've never looked scruffy a day in your life.

Unlike that woman you saw yesterday. Her skirt was simple and grey, her hair messy, in a ponytail, and her nails short and unpainted. She looked simply disgusting, not a bit of fashion sense or couture in her body. You didn't even want to be seen on the same street as her.

She was talking to some homeless person by the side of the road. As if she actually wanted to, as if she didn't know that none of those people really need money. Most of them are simply conmen (or women, to be fair) looking to get a buck out of innocent working people.

Then she'd walked up to where you were. She flitted past and went into a grocery store you were passing by. You busied yourself in the shop a few plots down that sold scarves and were just purchasing a green one when you saw her come back out of the grocery, arms full of things like bread and milk and cheese. She handed it all to the homeless man, who looked near tears at her generosity. Naïveté, more like.

You hadn't been able to let it rest. When she'd passed on by the man, you took your scarf and stopped her, prepared to ask why she had seen fit to speak to a scruffy man on the street that belonged in jail.

You were startled, though, when she gave you a look of distaste to match your own when you spoke to her. You asked your question and she stared at you for a moment, then replied, in a sweet voice, "He looked hungry." You sighed, exasperated, and asked her what made her think he was hungry, it was probably an act to get charity off of someone simple enough to fall for it.

"It doesn't matter" was all she replied, then walked away.

The necklace is sitting on the vanity and you look at yourself in the mirror. You look perfect, like always, unlike the woman in grey who gave charity to people who didn't deserve it and food to people who sat on the street like vagabonds and thought that even if hungry and homeless was an act by a conman she should still give them food and money and wore unmanicured nails and hideous hair and an ugly skirt because she didn't think it mattered and probably dreamed of living the life you live but never reached out for it because she wasn't bothered by poor or ugly or hungry or cold. She was bothered by your luxury, you had seen it in that distasteful look she'd given you when you'd deemed fit to speak to her.

You live life on cloud nine, bordered by silver and fluffy and warm and cozy and rich. But behind every silver lining is a grey base if you look hard enough, and it's the one woman in the grey skirt that's made your silver lose its sheen.

The necklace is beautiful, all diamonds and gold and elegance. It must have cost $400, at least. It would have looked stunning if you'd wear it to that party next week. But gold and grey don't match.

You'll wear the silver instead.

Author's Note: I was listening to Touch of Grey by the Grateful Dead and this is what developed. It's not all that great, and doesn't involve much of a change of heart on the part of the stuck-up woman in the life of luxury, but whatever. Review, if you like.