Nov 4th – Blushing Brilliance

November 4th
Blushing Brilliance

Written on a plane, which is a first…

20.04-20.14

Life as a Drag queen – Artiste – in Bradford wasn’t easy. It was hard enough for seasoned pros, those rare creatures that trod the boards in clubs and bars and disreputable halls, but for those taking their first steps in statuesque heels and dresses to die for, it could be hell

Anthony was seventeen years old.

He always knew he was different from the other boys, from about the time that he could be really said to know anything, but he really wasn’t like them, and he didn’t really want to be like them, either. He didn’t really want to be like the girls, either, although he envied the dresses they wore at the few parties he was unfortunate enough to be invited to, the parties he was forced to attend as a part of ‘everyone else’, even if he was at the odd end of that particular spectrum.

All Anthony really wanted to be was his own version of himself, but as he grew older, this seemed to be becoming increasingly difficult. He wanted to dress up, he wanted to be what he was always keeping pressed down deep inside, but on the Bradford estate he grew up on, that sort of thing was not encouraged.

It was a chance encounter with a returning uncle who told him stories of his own life as a failed comic in the working men’s clubs of the early eighties, and the stories of the drag artists on some nights that competed, and performed, and who sang and told jokes and were, in his uncle’s words,”loved, though they be mad bastards,” that fired his imagination. He knew, for some reason that he could never explain, what he wanted to be.

His father would never understand, but his father had never understood anything, and hadn’t been around to understand anything since Anthony was four. His mother was confused, she didn’t really get it either, but if Anthony was happy then she was, and she’d sit up with him sewing sequins onto second-hand dresses and taking in waists in her second hand machine. She stopped short at actually wanting to see him perform, but she’d support him up to a point, and Anthony was happy for this, as much as it was.

So that evening, Anthony had parked his bike around the back of the club, chained it to the lamppost, and taken his bag into the toilets that doubled as the artistes’ dressing room.

A monthly drag night, still running. In his black dress, pinching heels and blonde wig, Anthony took a deep breath and dabbed gently at his lipstick with a tissue that he left on the windowsill. It was time.

“Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time, so give her a special warm welcome… Blushing Brilliance!”

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Blushing Brilliance

Blushing Brilliance

First the new buds appear, even as the sun rises ever later. New growth, new grief. Slowly, slowly the buds develop, delicate, deep green and tiny. The year shifts, the early warmth comes and eventually each bud bursts forth into the five-petalled white beauty of spring blossom. Even as the parent tree is heavy with this spectacle, this vision of new life, the orchard is overwhelmed by death. A minute number of flowers maintain their grasp on the gently swaying boughs as almost every single precious bud is lost, dropped below.

Those that remain soon reveal yet more miracles, as they set their way into fruithood, almost imperceptible comes the change, a fundamental alteration in their individual being. Thus the glory of the tree’s young is clear to see, as these young spheres begin to swell.

Alas! Yet more agony for this mighty mother; she cannot bear the weight of so many young. Just as the summer sun is beginning the height of it’s nourishing strength so many more youthful promises drop and are lost.

The persistent ones still have many fraught months ahead of them, hungrily devouring all the nutrients they can to continue their gentle engorgement, before finally engaging on their final transformation. Splendidly their beauty is complete, as they modify their very skin to a brilliant sheen worthy of their name.

 

Today I wrote from 13:57 to 14:07 inspired by the prompts here. My other stuff is here. Follow me on the Dead Deer Blog. Or Twitter.