The Fool and The Empress
Ginger spent each Thursday taking salsa lessons.
At first she was her shy old self. So she almost stayed home on the night of her first lesson. But she paid for it and in answer to her father’s voice booming inside of her, Don’t waste your money on foolishness, she decided the best way to be foolish was to take the lesson.
She even bought new shoes.
They weren’t the ones she wanted. They were the acceptable pair, plain, and sturdy. Definitely not foolish.
The crimson ones, the ones she wanted, had slender heels that took her off balance just a bit. They also picked up too much light in their gleaming patent leather and, therefore, too much attention. She felt she wasn’t good enough for them.
So she settled for the black ones with the lower, more chunky heel. They would not draw attention to her. They were proper as the voice of her mother reminded her. And anyway, that was how she would describe herself, not proper but chunky.
Ginger shook off the other familiar voice, her constant companion. Stay at home with the dog. He loves you and doesn’t make fun of you. He won’t laugh when you crunch the toes of your partner.
“Oh, partner!” She whispered to herself as she stepped out the door not shutting it quite all the way. “What if no one wants to be my partner?”
Then, there it was. It was the other voice.
The one that came from a deeper place farther away. It was just a brush of a noticing at first. Recently it seemed to get louder at the most odd times. The first time she heard this voice clearly was the moment she stepped into the crimson dance shoes.
Oh, yessssss. These are the ones.
Ginger shook her head and tried to dismiss it. And almost immediately the other voice clipped a quick – You’ll fall. Don’t be silly. You’re not good enough for those. Those are shoes of an empress, not a fool.
But this night, as she stood ready to turn around and step back into the house, it was as if the brave voice, accompanied by a brisk wind, slammed the door shut without her permission.
The voice echoed and it carried Ginger in its mistral down the walk toward the dance studio whipping the edges of her long crimson cape. Opening and closing it in one swoop so Ginger could be warm and cold at the very same time.
Ginger didn’t think about the fact that the wind came from inside her house. She didn’t think about the fact that she was moving not on her own accord. She just let go.
It was the first time Ginger felt a release. It was as if her shoulders dropped. She stood straight with her chin up. She could actually breathe more deeply. As the wind swirled down into her lungs and into her gut, she felt strong.
She moved without being in control. So much so, she took a different route to the studio. The one that was faster but ran through the busiest part of the burg. She usually disliked walking through crowds hearing their unspoken comments about her. But tonight, Ginger was literally going with the flow of the wind and even began feeling her heart beat to the sound of a salsa that was calling to her far off in the distance.
Without a hint of time passing, there she was, Ginger with the black shoes and crimson cape standing at another door, another chance to walk away.
This is your choice. Now you must choose.
This time the whispered voice was brilliant in its clarity. Sirius guiding her path, but demanding her to make the choice. The wind stilled.
Ginger, the girl with the long black hair and crimson cape, stood in what felt like a vacuum. There wasn’t a sound except for the salsa beat faintly, almost nothing, seeping out between the cracks in the old storefront door frame. And the voice began to hum along to the beat, so soft, so gracious, Ginger couldn’t say no.
Ginger watched her arm stretch out from underneath her woolen cape and push the door open. She watched one black shoe step into the room and the rest was easy.
Music whirled around her. Lights gently flickered about. They kept them low, just enough to see, but not too much to find the flaws.
He had lime green pants and a crimson tuxedo jacket. His arms reached out to her. She turned and loosening the clasp, her cape unfolded into his arms.
There she stood in her lime green taffeta dress, a crimson cloth rose pinned to her waist.
Ginger spun back around and there he was sans cape. He reached out once more. This time she took his hand. Shy to meet his eyes, not just yet, she glance down to his feet.
At the end of his lime green pants were crimson patent leather shoes, a perfect match to the ones she would take off work tomorrow to buy the moment the store opened.
Oh, I so love the work of Graham Cameron in his Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot.
Our writers met again and this month we again used picks from a mixed deck of an odd assortment of tarot cards. I chose two at random and they were serendipitously both from Cameron’s deck. I used PicMonkey on The Fool for the purpose of my story.
We also chose at random from a list of beginning lines to start our writing. I chose the first one my eyes fell upon on the page. Ginger spent each Thursday taking salsa lessons.
I am so very inspired by Cameron’s delightful work and hope that I am honoring it with mine.
Here are the originals. Go and buy the deck! It’s a delight.