The Cliché

The anticipation of cotton fresh clothes, lavender bath oils and delicate undergarments that breathed built up as she unfastened the rough golden clasps. The case opened with a slight pop that sent her heart beating wildly. Her small nimble fingers parted the two sides carefully and lay them open like a treasure chest. For a few moments there was a kind of delayed confusion before she gasped “my case!” Dropping the air of ladylike gracefulness she plunged into it her hands touching unfamiliar things, men’s things. Their earthy musty smell filled her nose as it wrinkled in disgust. There must have been a mistake at the hotel foyer this wasn’t her case! It would be so unaccustomed for a woman of her morale confinement to go without modern comforts for so long. No sweet smelling perfumes or tenderly written romances awaited her here. It was full of harsh matt colours and objects that seemed so foreign to her she didn’t even know their purpose. A strange sensation came over her spiralling up mischievously from her gut as she was overcome by curiosity. She picked up the first thing within her grasp a shiny metal flask, she untwisted the small cap, cologne invaded her space immediately with its decadent smell of leather and whisky she capped it and put it aside.

Atop the case lay a brown pinstripe waistcoat underneath it were several worn boxes each one reinforced with metal tracing along its edge. She picked one up, its heavy weight surprised her. She undid the clasp and examined the strange apparatus within, all the other boxes contained similar strange mechanical objects, and each etched with numbers and markings. Beside them were a few small leather bound books with titles like ‘Astronomy for the learned’ and ‘star constellations of the northern hemisphere’. This revealed the identity of the case’s owner as some kind of astrologist, she imagined him with his long haired attributes, a pair of spectacles perched on the end of his nose. Confined to a dusty study all day to theorize the ways of the world, she sighed her curiosity exhausted and turned to take in her surroundings for the first thing she did when entering the room was to seek the comforts she brought with her. She removed her soft leather gloves and laid them on the drawing table. A long oval mirror held by a polished elm guardian stood in the centre of the room. She stood before it and examined her travelled appearance. She was wearing a soft cream tapered blouse and skirt, nipped at the waist with a subtle belt that nurtured a little gold clasp in the middle and then a warm plum coat over that with a matching cloche that adorned her head. The coats high collar was the height of fashion and accentuated her long swan neck. She took off the coat and laid it on the chair of the drawing desk followed by the cloche. Her hair had held throughout the day, rolled up and pinned delicately into place she padded it from underneath reassuring it in its transition to the new environment.

Her thoughts brought her back to the fact that she still did not have her luggage and that the clerks had unerringly muddled up the cases. She went out of the door and opened it, looking out down the corridor, she frowned there was no one there she walked quietly and looked down the next that led to the foyer, again no one, this only angered her further as there was no one around to aid her plight. She stomped back to the room, swung the case shut with a loud clack and whisked it off the bed, stumbling slightly with its weight so she was leaning onto one side she began her laboured journey to the foyer.  She would give the clerk behind the desk a piece of her mind, and the bell boy, and the maid and that old forsaken man!  Approaching the foyer she heard a loud voice, its deep tone angry. Her feet slipped a little on the clear marble under the weight of the case causing her to stop and stumble. The man at the desk calling out now it seems for someone’s attendance turned, his dark handsome features sweeping around.  As he turned she noticed a case in his hand, her case. Her mouth formed a perfectly shaped ‘O in surprise as their eyes met for the first time. He smiled shyly at her as she blushed.

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