I happened upon a conference hall thronging with ladies! Rubbing my Wensleydale-blotched, chubby little hands together, I thought: “Such a bevy of fillies as I’ve never seen!” And so I sauntered in.
Upon making my entrance, a young and lanyard’d lady did demand that I divest myself of the vestments of my authority – my ermine cloak, my many-medallion’d mayoral neck decorations. She even had the effrontery to demand that I leave my #bigpens at the door.
These things I did for the prospect of bathing myself in the adoration of such a gathering of girls was just too much of an enticement to stand upon ceremony.
It turned out that these were birds of a pedagogical bent, united for the purpose of a kind of affirmative chorus. Their fetching smiles and warming words seemed to be acting as a balmy birdsong for their shared sufferings. Ah, the stoicism of ladies – ’tis a thing to behold. I confess I quaked little and tucked my copy of Tooley’s ‘The Miseducation of Women’ a little deeper into the pocket of my herringbone blazer.
I took a seat amidst this assemblage of the fairer sex and slipped into a revery of sailing, of hoisting sails, of pulling rope – hand over hand – and watching my colours rise higher and higher, almost to the crow’s nest, where (strangely) I also stood, looking out over the billowing waters.
As my reverie deepened, a fleck of saliva began to work its way over the lid of my lower lip (an ample lip I might add). A lady sat to my right kindly offered me a tissue, fragranced with melon and cucumber methought.
As I took the tissue, and quite by chance, I looked deep into the nebulae of her eyes. Far deeper than ever I had had the chance or reason to do so prior to that moment. In her fair eye, I saw myself reflected. And in the reflection of myself, her eyes I saw too reflected.
At that point, I disappeared into a cascade of mirror’d eyes and found myself lifted rapturous – imagining this fair lady, likewise, rising upward to meet me. Instead of simply rising together like two Chinese lanterns, we coalesced. A sensation so strange, I struggle to relate it to you with any coherence!
I felt myself coalesce not simply with this comely damson, but with all such beings of fragile beauty: my wife, my mother, my two most-cherish’d daughters. And I was struck by a thought so strange and alien that I sought to banish it immediately, but it rose and rerose until it resounded in my cranium like an hysterical Gregorian chant.
“From time to time, I am a woman. From time to time, I am a man.”
With this peculiar notion rattling in the cage of my thoughts, I began to descend, and found my consciousness returning to the body of a man wracked with intense sobbing, almost wailing.
The ladies surrounding me were kindly, proffering me more scented tissues and tender words of comfort. Two particularly angelic ladies led me by the elbow back to the entrance so that I might take some of the external airs.
As I reached the entrance, now resolved to leave this place for the present, I turned back to look (through refracted tears) at this group of humans, as they now appeared to me. I felt myself, previously a half-sentient thing, somehow whole – and somehow a part of something more profoundly rich than was previously the case.
I was returned into my ermine cloak with a smile and gratefully gave a curt bow to receive my mayoral medallions.
Finally, to my pockets were returned my #bigpens and, emboldened, I stepped out into a larger world.
I may be the Mayor of Simpleton,
But I know one thing…