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I Shall Not Wear Purple

Story by Margaret A. Frey (Read author interview) September 15, 2003

When I am old I shall not wear purple. I shall race down the street wearing nothing at all. Hair loose and flying, I shall wiggle and shimmy, then skip the tracks along High Street and Broad.

I shall wail like a babe and howl like an Amazon, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, say the Our Father, too. No shield to cover me, no sword for protection, I’ll cross myself twice and spit at the moon. They will come, no doubt, the uniformed men with thick fingers waggling. Let them come if they must. Let them come stone-faced or smirking, batons raised in the pre-dawn light. Let them march in jackboots and leather, tattoos flexing. They will not deter me; I am past that now.

When I am old, my flesh shall be magic, a feathery cloak of impenetrable down. At the crossroads, I shall act out a pantomime, the five stages of woman: man, love, child, mother… utterly alone.

I return to the start, the place of raw beginning. I arrive plucked, bare-assed, innocent and shameless. I once trembled with anger and gave a warrior’s yell. I am here, I am now, though my heart beats staccato; it jumps and whirs like a moth in a jar.

When I am old I shall not wear purple! I shall cast my arms to the blue-edged night and conjure spells to call down the Goddess. I shall jump and sway on the milky-white crescent, swing and shriek while my hair sweeps the ground. I shall spin and twirl and laugh like crazy tossing ashes and posies till we all fall down. I shall screech, I tell you. I shall scream bloody murder. Synchronize your clocks and “X” off the calendars. Blindfold the children then beeswax their ears. I sprint at daybreak, and I shall curse like a banshee.

Watch me, hear me, remember me always, a silly old woman wearing nothing at all.

About the Author

Margaret A. Frey started her career as a copy/production editor in Philadelphia, Pa. Her early fiction appeared in the Asphodel, a literary quarterly. More recently, Margaret’s work appeared in Literary Potpourri, Bovine Free Wyoming, and Flashquake, and a non-fiction piece took 2nd place in the 2003 Erma Bombeck competition, human-interest category. Margaret writes from the foothills of the Smoky Mountains where she lives with her husband and book-eating Bernese pup, Ruffian.

This story appeared in Issue One of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue One

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