Black Stripes

Inside her wardrobe was a rod ornamented by fourteen identical striped shirts, waiting on fourteen wire hangers, and three pairs of folded black slacks. One pair of canvas sneakers and another of rain boots sat happily next to the front door like puppies looking for a chance to get out and play. She scowled at them.

Upon stepping out of the shower, which had lasted a calculated eight minutes, to allow for time to eat and face painting, she had been dissatisfied with her available clothing choices.

Her lack of choices, that is.

She couldn’t remember the last time she’d pulled a chiffon skirt over her thighs, or tied a bikini around her neck. She must have been fifteen, in her last moments of freedom and genuine femininity—at age sixteen, she’d been signed to the International Mime Association with a ten-year contract. Her only goal had been to see Paris from the inside. Six years later, she knew she had far surpassed accomplishing it.

But this morning, her uniform Parisian life seemed bland, emotionless, uninspiring. She knew she was experiencing a loss of passion, and her performances would seem drained. She hadn’t even the energy to rub her eyelids in a sad sort of way for the generous patrons of the Notre Dame.

What if I slip out the back door and down to the Champs-Elysees? she thought. Just to try on a few blouses, and maybe a dress or two. Just to take a break.

She had time before she had to step onto the sidewalk in full costume, and she knew it.  She could walk right out of her apartment and ignore the four years that loomed ahead of her. But, instead, she smeared porcelain foundation and gaudy rouge on her face, pinned her hair in a tight bun, and descended the staircase, determined to keep her promise.

Published at Goon and Darling Do Flash Fiction on July 10, 2012.

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