I found her in a darkened hallway of a museum that was new to me. There was no marquee of adoring lights to surround her. Yet she glowed with a froth of color that mocked like the sun frolicking across the ocean's surface, picking out the jeweled lights on Neptune's brow.
There were no benches placed before her; those that would visit her, proclaim their ardor and admiration, would have to stand, as they would before a princess. But her glance, full of shallow youth and pride, would have to insist: You will stay, and you will wait. Her coral smile, a faint dimpling on soft, dangerous country, added: And you will enjoy it.
There was nothing coy about the mischievous creature I found in the shadows. She was lush and bold. Pearls, translucent marbles that rolled from the mouths of oysters, wrapped around her neck and cascaded down her breast. The thick, nacreous ropes were arranged with careful abandon over skin that was white and suffocating with arsenic. Her hair melted into auburn coils, its henna exuberance held back by a pink ribbon which happily admitted its silken defeat.
Liquid colors flowed about her, swift-moving pastel rivers of blue, white and pink. The currents of a spring sky – delicate, willful prisms – rushed through the fabric of her gown and gave it stormy life. Her sapphire plumage was matched only by the parrot balanced on her lithe fingers, cautiously pulling her gown open.
Who was she? I read the portrait's title: 'Young Lady With A Parrot'. Frustrating! She would have to remain a mystery – her dainty secrets locked away. She might have been a lady-in-waiting, a royal daughter or a courtier's sin. All I had was her beguiling light and joyous color.