She sees her. She waves. She smiles.They—no, she proceeds to sit down on the dusty wooden floor, crumbling slightly beneath her due to years of misuse. She nods at her friend.
"Would you like a cup of tea, Lucy?" The seven year old tries her best to imitate the posh, clear voice she heard her mother use so many times, in front of those rich ladies in beautiful gowns and dainty heels, all powdery faces and fake smiles. Sometimes they pinch her cheeks and tell her that she will grow up to be a gorgeous woman.
She doesn't want to be all powdery face and fakes smile-y, though. But that's what her mother wants, and she has to make her happy.
She is barely holding onto to the handle of the tiny plastic cup, trying to maintain a delicate posture. It has swirls and roses all over it. She offers it to Lucy.
The rosy, swirly plastic cup meets the ground with a dull thud, and she thinks that the cup has a slight crack running across the pink rose on it. Mother's cups always do when they are dropped.
Lucy blinks at her owlishly.
She wills Lucy to thank her and take leave in an "elegant and posh" manner (her mother's words, not hers) like those rich ladies.
"Thank you." Lucy gets up, and with perfect poise and measured steps, walks out.
She thinks it about how much poise and measured steps does not feet her friend. Lucy was, after all, and epitome of freedom and cartwheels, of messy hair and sparkling eyes. Lucy was what everything she was but could not be.
Mother says that Lucy is not real. She calls her a delusion, a figment of her imagination, and other big words she cannot understand. All she knows was how wrong her mother was. Lucy was real, as real as real could possibly be.
Father once caught her doing cartwheels with Lucy. It did not go very well, and she was left unable to walk properly for two days. After that, someone they called a 'private tutor' started to visit her house. The private tutor made Lucy walk with books on her head and heels on her feet, and wear dresses that were far too tight yet too puffy for hours. If she complained she would be given a harsh hit on her knuckles.
Lucy was the only one who didn't scold her for making a slip or dropping a cup. She was the only one who told her that she looked beautiful even without the puffy dresses. She was the only one who did not try and mould her into someone with a powdery face and fake smile.
But it is because she doesn't want to be scolded or judged. And Lucy does everything she tells her to.
Lucy is sparkles and happiness, of cotton candy and childhood joys. She was dusty starshine dulled by rules and chains, of bitter tea and abuse, of broken dream and torn hopes.
She wants to be Lucy.
I can't imagine how it is for kids of the rich and the noble. You know, having to behave perfectly...