April 1st, 2008



From the highly revised PRADA AND PREJUDICE:

I run my fingers over the spines and walk down the rows, looking at the titles. Utopia. The Miser. Robinson Crusoe. The books are all leather, and the titles are old. I pause at a collection of Shakespeare. Othello. Romeo and Juliet. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I pick up Hamlet and walk over to the fireplace and plop down on a red brocade sofa. I know I’m supposed to be exploring the house, but right now I want to get away from everything. I lay back on a pillow, my dress draped over my legs and hanging over the edge of the cushions, towards the floor. Dresses are sort of annoying, but they can be mega-comfortable too, when they’re loose and flowy like this one is.

I’m only halfway into the first act when I hear the door click open. What do I do? Hide? What if this room is supposed to be off limits? Panicked, I duck behind the sofa. It’s elevated off the floor with four spindly legs, so I can make out the shoes of the person stepping inside.

I recognize the leather riding boots of Alex. The Duke.

Crap. Why am I hiding? Doesn’t this look suspicious? Maybe I should have just sat there, all casual like. But now what do I do? Pretend like I lost a contact?

Oh, right. That won’t work.

God this is so stupid! I wasn’t doing anything wrong!

I try to keep my breathing steady, even though I am terrifyingly close to panting like a dog. He walks up and down the aisles for what seems like an hour but it’s probably ten minutes. I can hear him sliding books in and out of the shelves.

And when he gets to the Shakespeare section, he pauses. I picture him scanning the titles. I picture him knowing what’s missing.

And then he starts walking towards me. I cover my mouth with my hand to keep from freaking out. Part of me wants to pop to my feet and yell, Boo! Like it was just a little joke, but somehow I don’t think he’ll find it funny.

He’s picking up Hamlet, where I’d left it on page thirteen. I can hear the pages turn; it’s the only sound in the otherwise silent room.

I watch his boots pivot slightly. I imagine him looking around the room, trying to figure out where the book came from, or who was reading it.

But then he sets it down, turns on his heel, and walks out.