The Governor’s Wife -by James Legare 2-22-17
The black limo edged towards the Golden Gate Bridge heading South as it approached from Marin. Daphne caught a glimpse of her thoroughly cosmetized face and assessed her newest face-lift, with a slight upward tilt of the chin, as her image was reflected in the car’s window. It was the result of an unlikely balance of light -just at that moment. With eyelids Turquoise, and short blond hair coiffed with careful proportion, like Narcissus gazing into the water, her face appeared suddenly before her own eyes. But, there would be no hypnotic effect, not this time. Narcissus’ drugged stupor is experienced only by the truly beautiful.
This subtle trick of the sun’s rays, the ghostly image of her own face, caused her to appear as though Daphne were in her thirties again, a fleeting illusion. It was as though her heart slowly drained as she once again gazed at the scrabble dirt and knotty grass beside the road which measured her meager progress. They are starved for water -she thought. This would be Route 101’s final approach along a stretch that was frequently congested with traffic. The limo’s position in relation to the sun shifted gradually, and subtly.
The cell phone, resting by her sequined clutch-purse, near-at-hand, rang softly, breaking the near-silence. She held it to her ear after a moment’s consideration, after she saw the number appear on the caller ID. After listening, without a hint of emotion -never that, she began speaking calmly yet with an earnestness that was all her own, a trade-mark of sorts.
“Now just remember Darling; there is High Society and then there is Very High Society. Now, I’m not saying you haven’t arrived…”
Then after pausing thoughtfully…
“…You just need to learn the etiquette, you naughty young man you…”
Then, after listening for awhile…
“You have to give generously when people are watching Marcus.” then, after another glance, out at their meager progress…again “I’ll make a Senator out of you yet…a son for a Senator..Now, that’s what Mommy wants.”
-a prideful smile appeared…then…she though -What is the difference between romance and infatuation? Never mind. Let someone young figure it out.
Daphne continued with the phone by her ear. -“Regardless, Power is mostly an illusion. The challenge is to be disciplined. You have to be even more disciplined then the people you govern.”
“Now Dear, you had your beginnings as a motivational speaker. That was a step above carnival barker as far as Mommy is concerned. But, we are all young and foolish once. In your heart you will always be a musician. But, you were not the first, nor will you be the last pianist to crash ashore Rachmaninoff. That rocky coastline has destroyed more dreams. Darling, you just don’t have it in you. The Muse will kill you if you let it. Perfection is difficult to achieve. It evades us, after all. Sadly it is the destiny of Beauty to fade. That’s what makes it beautiful, after all.”
One would not have been able to read the thoughts on her face. The most delicate language can obscure the coarsest of ideas. The one clue would always be her actions. Other than that, one was lost as to her intentions. To guess at a businessperson’s true goals, one must observe what they do, first and foremost. Words, more often than not, are mere camouflage.
“…snake oil salesman. That’s not how it’s done, now.”
Visualize success and what it means. As the image becomes more clear, also, it will become more real.
Real and realize -She closed her Turquoise eyes and thought those words over again.
“Your emotional intelligence workshops were a scam… retreats, -whatever. You need a business model that works, not New Age claptrap. Enlightenment isn’t a commodity. It doesn’t interest Mommy.”
“Your pièce de résistance is much anticipated even as we speak. Is it prudent of you to NOT be present at its unveiling? Mommy’s on her way now, even as we speak.”
“You never want to miss out on an opportunity to schmooze, especially with this crowd. Take that advice from Mommy. The governor and his wife aren’t going to stand around at the unveiling ceremony and wait for your arrival, forever. You aren’t that important yet.”
“Who is he? That’s what I want to know, to inspire this latest bit of scandal. He must be gorgeous! Your letting a trick interfere with your political advancement?”
There was a hoarse, dry laugh at that. Her gaze returned to the slow progression of the roadside, parched, brown, with the spectacular San Francisco Bay, tantalizingly, appearing, in the background. Life was truly a mirage.
“The governor and his wife do not ‘hang out’ at the museum for just any schlump. Charming as I am, Mommy may have trouble keeping them on her little hook for you. I will try to entertain them in your absence. I will tell them you are at death’s door. It’s the only excuse they will understand. But then, I need you to miraculously appear, my dirty little darling. Returning from the dead is the one thing that just may impress this man.“
“Politics is all about names, and, the names of the ‘Right People’. Yes, you should bother with their names. It is almost as important as dressing well.”
“You can’t just walk away from it. That is the difference between people who have, and those who are governed by those who have…”
“As the altitudes become more rarefied your second chances diminish in direct proportion to your distance from the Earth. Listen to Mommy. Someday you will reach the stratosphere. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I happen to know that the governor’s wife can play men like a fine violin. But, only if they’re straight. So, perhaps this little warning is irrelevant.”
“Some people only vote with money, But, others vote mainly with money. Take it from Mommy. ”
“Trust me, the worst thing you could be is genuine. That would be a grave offense. And, grave offenses are not forgiven.” And the conversation seemed to end with that. And, it was not with an air of satisfaction.
Daphne placed the phone, once again, on the leather seat beside her. A calmness ensued. Her gaze was now zen-like. From the interior of the car, it seemed, progress picked up, slowly and silently, or at least its illusion.
And then, Daphne turned again, to the window, to the glass that so betrayed her. This would be rush-hour during an intensifying sunset. It would have to be at this hour, unfortunately. The governor’s schedule had to be worked around, not the other way around. The outline of San Francisco, her skyline, drew nearer, this would be all that the glare would allow, through the glass, on this occasion, one of many journeys to The City.
This would not be the first sexual tryst to interfere with her son’s political advancement. To be gay in San Francisco was hardly scandalous in this day-and-age. However, it can prove distracting.
Daphne’s late husband had been a colossal failure. With a dithering habitude, he was a feckless man at every turn. An executive who labored long hours in the Bio-Tech Sector. He did badly even after considering how challenging that industry was. How disappointing.
The driver continued his steady if meager progress towards the bridge. The span was magnificent to behold. Daphne’s thoughts were elsewhere, however.
Fog began its rapid encroachment. Whiteness surrounded the towers once again. Daphne resigned herself to meeting the Governor and his wife at the charity gala at the De Young without Marcus. And, as she was growing accustomed to appearing without her now-late husband, she could entertain them both without the usual distractions.
Copyright Protected Work, All Rights Reserved 3-20-17 © by, James Legare