In Miriam's bosom
Peaches Morgan stood looking at herself in the mirror. She liked the dress, but she would prefer something with a lower-cut neckline, exposing her cleavage. She was in a flirtatious mood.
Miriam Green, too, was in a flirty state of mind. In all kinds of mind. She chose a spaghetti-strap dress with a wide, plunging cleavage.
Her ample bosom, glistening with baby oil, glowed dark mahogany. And the dress swung above her knees.
Peaches, in a state of frustration tried another dress, and another, and another. She didn't like the look of her neck and bosom in the low-cut ones. Strings and wrinkles, and age spots were exposed. Sagging boobs, curdled porridge, she could not bear to see.
Miriam beamed into her mirror. "He will be near, he will be there," she sang to herself, a line from a Sarah Vaughan/Gerswhin song. He would have no choice than to sweep her off her feet when he saw her. "Heaven, I'm in Heaven." It was now Ella Fitzgerald's voice in her head. She sprinkled a little Khus Khus perfume behind her ears, then reached for a little glittery purse. Tonight is the night.
Peaches settled for a sleeveless midnight-blue number with a high, round neck. No cleavage. But the flesh on her arms danced as she descended the stairs. Her friend, Dorothy, was tooting loudly at her gate. They were going to be late.
Miriam was not. She had left one hour early. She didn't want to miss him. He would be there, he would be near. Just as he was 30 years ago. But he would come alone this time, not like 30 years ago. And he would have eyes only for her.
On the way down Knutsford Boulevard, Peaches spotted Miriam walking briskly in high heels. As she was about to point out Miriam to Dorothy, Dorothy picked up speed.
"I don't know."
"Is she going where we are?"
Miriam's heart fluttered as she neared the hotel. Thirty years ago, as she stood at the door to the ballroom waiting for him to turn up, she was excited. She was going to ring in the new year with the man of her dreams. And the man of her dreams turned up. With a beautiful woman on his arm.
He looked straight through Miriam's eyes and passed her, turning her dream into a lifelong nightmare. And tonight she was going to wake up finally, for he would be there waiting for her. Not her for him.
When Miriam arrived at the hotel, she waited for the opportunity to slip past security. In the ballroom, she didn't see him, so she seated herself.
Peaches was startled to see Miriam at the table where she was with Dorothy. "Isn't that the woman we passed up the road."
Miriam sat fidgeting, her eyes all over the place. He would be late for dinner, she thought. But he would be here. Peaches was uneasy herself, and Dorothy was not taking her on. Dorothy was hungry, and dinner was almost late.
As Miriam moved her head, her bosom also moved. Her smooth, dark skin glowed. Her cleavage, round and bouncing, was annoying Peaches. "And who is she, can't even say hello," Peaches grumbled low to herself.
And the more she looked at Miriam's cleavage, the more she thought about hers, when she was young, when Richard Crouch held her to his firm chest and danced and danced all night.
Miriam, too, was in deep reminiscence. After three decades, she suddenly got the feeling that the man of her dreams would be attending the ball that night.
Peaches and Richard had been going to the ball every year since their first date. It was their favourite party. She had been attending even after he died. Car accident.
After 45 minutes of waiting to be served, Dorothy got up for the ladies' room. Peaches took the opportunity to engage Miriam.
"So," she said to Miriam, glancing at her bosom, wishing she herself had aged so well, "are you waiting for someone?"
"Yes," Miriam said with a girlish smile.
A short moment of silence. And then Peaches asked, "But, don't you think, you could have worn something, you know, more discreet, not so revealing?"
Miriam looked down at her jiggling bosom and giggled.
Then she looked up at Peaches, and raised her chin to a dignified angle, and so, "No, I think Richard will like it just like this."
"Yes, Richard Crouch, the man of my dreams," and she heaved her bulbous bosom and sighed heavily.
Peaches landed her right hand loudly to her covered bosom, and the left to her mouth, and gasped. Her eyes popped as she looked right through Miriam's cleavage to that night, 30 years, when a tall, elegant black-skinned woman stepped into their path as she and Richard Crouch were about to enter the ballroom.
"Who is she?" Peaches had asked.
"I don't know."