July 26, 2012
— boudoire, couture, cross-dressing, fiction, fifth avenue, literature, luxury, money, shock, short story, story
By ALICIA MCLEOD
The circular bedroom smells of Chanel #5 and soft lighting casts shadows on the beige, lace-flocked walls. Georgina hurries over to the massive walk-in closet, noting on her way that she only has thirty minutes to get ready before dinner. The closet is more like a small sitting room and contains a beautiful make-up settee; A print of Monet’s Woman in a Garden hangs on the wall between the racks of clothing. Georgina sways into the closet and sweeps her hand across a row of gowns. Chambray, venetian lace, velour, silk and an array of other fabrics are all present. Every gown specially chosen for a different occasion, every one made using only the most exquisite textures and colors and every one designer. Georgina’s beautifully polished hand brushes over a Dior gown made of silk. The color is cerulean and the dress has only a minor ruffled detail across the bodice. Elegance through simplicity. She carefully lays the garment over one arm, walks with ginger finesse and places it on the bed. It looks gorgeous lying there on the golden bedspread. Accessories are next and Georgina knows just the thing to complement the gown. Stepping over to the make-up settee, she reaches inside a mahogany jewellery box and pulls out a luscious set of white-as-snow pearls. She then grabs some ivory Manolo’s , thinking that they aren’t that important because they won’t be seen anyway, but noting the daintiness of the straps as they hang over her fingers, they too are gorgeous. This whole process makes Georgina feel like a princess, a regal beauty out of a fairy tale. Most of all it makes her feel inherently feminine. She has a slightly difficult time wiggling into the dress, as the fit is the one thing that has never been perfect. Once on, she fumbles with the zipper and after some time gets it all the way done up. She then lays the pearls around her neck and latches the clasp. Now for make-up and hair. The curling iron has already been left to heat up in the en-suite bathroom and Georgina heads back into the closet to apply her make-up. Blackest-black mascara, mauve blush and lipstick the color of strawberries is on the menu. She applies all three with meticulous delight and stares into the mirror at the finished product. Thinking that it needs something, she adds black eyeliner to finish the look and smiles. Her stomach flutters with joy, she couldn’t be happier. In the bathroom, she adds a few curls to her chestnut coloured hair. Georgina then slips into her Manolo heels and heads over to the full length mirror for one final gaze. Her eyes well up with tears and she poses a number of ways, unable to contain her jubilation. She wishes she were in front of a camera. She begins to belt out Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares to You, and dance around like a giddy school girl. Footsteps are heard on the landing downstairs and Georgina stops singing mid verse. She rushes to the bathroom, grabs a tissue and frantically begins to wipe the lipstick off her mouth. A quick glance at the ornate gold clock hanging above the dresser tells her that her thirty minutes were up awhile ago. ‘Shit.’ She says, a quiver in her voice. Footsteps coming up the stairs now. A voice in the hall. Georgina can’t quite make out what is being said. She kicks off the heels, snatches them up and rushes into the closet to put them back, all the while fumbling with the zipper on the back of the gown. ‘George? George is that you? Are you home already?’ A woman’s voice calls out, muffled through the bedroom door. Suddenly the knob turns and Georgina jumps with panic. She slams the closet door, not knowing what else to do. Moments later the door is opened and a frightened Georgina is standing there half clothed, her secret exposed. ‘George!’ The blonde haired woman screams. Georgina is no longer Georgina, she is a he and he is known as George. George is husband to the beautiful woman now standing in their bedroom closet above fifth avenue. He is frozen, terrified and doesn’t know what to do or say. He pulls off the remainder of the gown, and gingerly places it back on its hanger. His wife, Charlotte, just stands there watching him. She also does not know what to say, and instead of speaking she begins to sob. Nude, except for a bra and panty set that belongs to his wife, George makes his way over to Charlotte and embraces her. He too begins to sob and the two of them stay like that until they both have no tears left. George gingerly places his hand under Charlottes chin and raises her head so that she is forced to look into his eyes, she turns away. ‘What does this mean?’ She chokes. ‘I don’t yet know myself.’ He replies, his voice shaking. Charlotte wipes her mascara stained eyes, brushes the hair out of her face, wraps her arms around herself and makes her way over to the bed. She sits down with a sigh, the remainder of a sob is caught in her throat, and she buries her head in her hands. George’s heart is shattering inside of his chest as he watches his wife. He cautiously moves over to the foot of the bed and kneels at her feet. ‘I may not know entirely what this means Charlotte, but I am certain it has nothing to do with my love for you.’ He says gingerly. She looks up from her hands and her big green eyes are pools of sadness and confusion. She opens her mouth to speak but stops, at a loss. The room is filled with silence. Charlotte’s eyes widen, as though a flood of clarity and realization has entered her mind. She stands up, smoothes out her designer suit, once again wipes her eyes and turns to leave. On her way out the door, she turns around for one last glance at her pathetic husband. ‘A fine park avenue heiress succumbing to the public embarrassment of having a cross-dresser for a husband is so far beyond my realm of acceptability, I won’t even consider it for a moment longer. However, divorce in and of itself is just as detrimental regardless of if the public is made aware of the reasons why.’ A brief pause. ‘Even though I have been sufficiently wounded by this little…encounter…I have decided that the best possible outcome for the well-being of our family will be to pretend this never happened. Do you realize we have two small children downstairs at this very moment?!’ She stops herself again. Charlotte has limits when it comes to anger. Composure, sophistication and elegance are her calling card. The mere idea of an incident like the one that has just occurred in her bedroom, does not lie within the realm of her normal universe. ‘Take a look around George. Realize where you are. Realize how you got here. If it wasn’t for me, you would be…’ She takes a deep breath and closes her eyes. ‘From now on only use the dresses I no longer wear.’ She says, her eyes still closed. She then walks out of the room leaving her husband on his knees at the foot of their bed wearing her bra and panties. George stands up slowly and walks over to the mirror. He allows his eyes to wander over every inch of his body. He fondles the pink lace of the bra he is wearing. He cups the fake breasts that he has created with tissue. A soft smile slowly emerges on his mascara stained face.