LemonBy Delbert H. Rhodes  

“No, I should not,” she demands, as she strolls hurriedly past, trying artfully to look away. The thought burning in her mind, as would a flame burning into dried wood. “No, I must never surrender to my weakness, to my shameful desire to have it,” she anguishes, lowering her head, and turning her eyes away as she passes. Attempting preoccupation, she fashions her attention to a window across the street. In it is the perfect dress. “Oh how beautiful,” she says aloud, as if hearing herself speak she would be released from her mental trappings. Consciously her voice might somehow unlink the chains imprisoning her every thought, her every emotion.

Her morning walks to work are exuberant: the smell of the air, so fresh, cool, and delightful, filling her with life. Even the noise of traffic, with tires skidding and screeching, and loudly blasting horns, fails to be unpleasant, as if a streaming musical, its effect is symphonic.

The Street Stage, and musically, the sounds provide background melodies for characters bursting into song about something at the office, and others quietly unsure of the boss’s intentions. Therefore, without knowledge of what the day might bring.

The mornings begin this way every day, and she adores the thrill of it all. Nevertheless, this wanton pleasure rips her to pieces. Outwardly, she fights to refuse the interloper, but deep inside its invasiveness pleases her. A pleasure to which, daily, she weakens. This need feeds on her as if she were sugar located by a colony of ants. “No!” “No!” Pulling away, and without sneakers, she walk-runs down the busy morning sidewalk.

Rushing onward, she is graceful as she weaves around everyone in her path. Mimicking a sowing needle, effortlessly, she enters one location, and exits another, as the dressmaker creates the stitch. Alternatively, she becomes a halfback driving forward, piercing the line, and eluding attackers with the nimble of a dancer. Why do they call them halfbacks? She wonders. Half of what, she grins, still evading her own attacker. Noticeably, passersby grimace as they make their way, wondering from what or whom might she be running. Of what type of danger is so fearful manifesting such frantic behavior? Their faces become awash with scowl. No one stops her; no one cares to know too much.

She knows, however. For this is a safe town. Here, night or day, one never worries about criminal darkness or invisible shadows that do harm. In the deepest night or willowy morning, one is at peace on these streets. Nonetheless, the predator lurks within her, and as much as she would care never to admit it, she realizes that in time and to her passion, she would submit.

Onward she goes, but to the thief in the distance she turns, looking over her shoulder. Without legs or body it keeps pace, without lungs and heart, it is tireless, relentless. From her core she calls upon every morsel of strength. Even so, she is without freedom. She must never give in, never submit, never! Then at the crosswalk, the red light is a widow of woe; pedestrian traffic must acquiesce and then she must halt. Inside her turmoil and fury grope for ground. 

She is outraged, this could not be happening; “Come on,” exclaiming as she slows pace allowing time for the light to change. She is desperate to see the human-like figure striding in the framework. Nearing the corner and almost stopping, suddenly, and thankfully, the figure appears. Constantly, she is encouraged to redirect to return to the thing, she wants to leave. Resuming pace, she quickly crosses to the opposite corner, separating her from her sumptuous shame.

Looking to the horizon, she fills her mind with the day’s work schedule. The first order of business is a staff meeting, the topic of discussion: developing new techniques of staff training. The nature of the business requires that staff be on the cutting edge of methodologies at all times. Being the boss, she relies on her people’s professionalism, and they her leadership. The team concept is a central theme on her watch. She walks in it, as would a Lady adorning an elaborate evening gown. Leadership is the key to success, and success is her middle name. Now success is the growing distance between her, and the color yellow.

The office building, the elevator, her suite and her people, she is safe and secure. Five o’clock, the same walk, the same torment, the same desire, yet again she is victorious. Maybe a change of pathways to work, a new venue, she thinks. No, this would be failure, a depiction of weakness a lack of character. This is her favorite route to work, and she refuses to change it. She would continue here, as she has for the past five years. Home, a steaming scented hot bath, a delicious meal, mindful of the calories, and then she could rest.

Before bed, she would resume the novel she began two days ago, a wonderful story: about a woman’s passion to become a great writer, and the tribulations before her. She envies this woman her persistence her unrelenting struggle to overcome difficulties, and her never-ending quest to realize her goal. In some small ways, she and this woman are alike. As does the heroine, she too never accepts mediocrity, and always demands excellence. For a while, she could relax, for a moment she would romanticize.

When the morning wakes: it kisses her cheek. Smiling, and opening her eyes, she is thankful for such a beautiful day. Stretching, she feels as though a masseuse had slipped into bed, tending to her as she slept. Deliciously, she savors the thought. A quick shower, application of makeup, without excessiveness, a light breakfast, tidy up the kitchen, though rarely if ever messy, and then attend to her teeth. Healthy teeth symbolize a healthy person. A lesson learned in childhood from her parents. (They are both gone now. Sadly, she often misses them.) She prefers her bed unmade, but neat, something homey about that, and then off to work.

Elegantly: yet contentedly dressed, she is the picture of fashion. Wearing a lovely black silk skirt with a white silk blouse, and tasteful pearl surrounding her neck, she is the businesswoman. Her shoes: black, doubtless, custom fit, and constructed from the finest leather; her stockings: seamless, silk, superior. Because of the morning’s slight “breathiness,” she garners protection within her matching silk jacket.

Embracing her sculpted head, shoulder length satin black hair parted at its middle. Infrequently, the black fibers mingle with a kiss of gray. Neatly cut and styled, her hair appears as though caressed by the wind. A businesswoman’s cut yet sensual… sexual. With moonlit chestnut eyes, classic physiognomy, and a graceful figure, at thirty-six she is twilight entwined. She is an eye catcher- Gorgeous- Oh but for the tears of the weeping. Nonetheless, all flirts are off, this lady is purely business.

A divorcee of five years: losing her husband to his work, she has since been married to hers. As of late, and although there are suitors, there is little room for love affairs. Another time, maybe.

The visage of cover girl, she dresses stylishly; publicly, looking good is feeling good. Doubtless, the elegant wallpaper covering her walls secretly dictates to social hierarchy. Strolling, she prepares for the walk, and the thing that waits.

Nearing the problem location, she is somewhat nervous, but excited. The day seems usual with the noise of traffic, people on the move, and tight schedules at work. She walks as though carefree, taking time to relish sounds, vistas, and even meeting the eyes of some passing strangers, although infrequently.

Steeling preoccupation, as she would, alternatively, she realizes that before long her menace would emerge. Rounding the corner, and one-half block ahead waits the impasse. Today, as she has previously, she would prevail. Besides, what is so threatening about anything yellow? She realizes the problem and it is not the article, but the thing it represents. In fact, she (once) often enjoyed it. Now, for sake of loyalty, she is religious about dedication. Prayer: this moment is a necessity because dedication is slipping fast. Fearful, yet anxious, she quickens her pace. Again, the display window views her scornfully.

Breathing rapidly and desperate to look away, she is incapable of denying the fiend. Ravenously, it takes from her a most precious gift, a most cherished sensibility. With a saddened heart the inevitable happens, she succumbs.

Opening the door and stepping inside, she requests one of the items. She watches as the clerk wraps it in the customary waxed paper, realizing her loss of a long-term plan. A plan that has made her the alluring female. Life sometimes can be curious, indeed.

Reaching into the pocket of her jacket, waiting is the exact amount of money. Privately, she realizes that (subconsciously) she has planned for this day. Taking the small white bag, and then leaving the store, she says goodbye to the clerk. In her possession, the Lemon Danish, on her face a smile. 

Copyright © 2003 Delbert H. Rhodes

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