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Tatiana Vorontsova
Mon Aug 28, 2017 21:37

There were many processes to go through every morning before Tatiana could truly say she was ready, but in her mind, the majority of them were just the lead-up to one of the most important parts of her whole day: getting dressed, either deciding which clothes would go best with the jewelry she had already decided she wanted to wear that day or which jewelry would go with an outfit she wanted to wear or sometimes, more rarely, selecting both parts of her apparel the day she put on them on.

The fact that she no longer had much choice over the parts of her clothes most people would see did make things easier in one way, but the cut and color of said clothes made other things more difficult in many more ways. Tatiana looked in exasperation between the contents of her jewelry box and the shapeless green garment with the mandatory brown-and-fake-gold badge pinned to it which she was obliged to wear. If only the neckline were half an inch lower! Then she could have made do better, but as it was, it was going to completely mess up the presentation of most of her necklaces, and the colors were just not her at all. If there had been a yellow-and-blue House, she would have liked to have been there, but none of the Houses, to her way of thinking, had very pretty color combinations and none of them really worked with the dark green thrown in, either.

She stared down the contents of her jewelry box, hating that her favorite part of the day was a stressful occasion today, a day which was bound to be full of other stressful occasions. Her best option, she thought, was one or two of the four strands of freshwater pearls (one white, sixteen inches, and one black, eighteen inches, that could be worn together or separately, a spaced out double strand of small white pearls, and the black graduated necklace she had worn the day before) she had with her, but she did not enjoy the thought of going the next seven years wearing nothing but freshwater pearls. Some of her dark blue topazes worked well enough, she supposed, but couldn’t come to their best in the robes….

Besides her everyday pearls, Mama had allowed her to bring three necklaces with aquamarines, two sets of aquamarine earrings, three necklaces with blue topazes, one pair of topaz earrings, a gold chain with seven small, square yellow sapphires hanging from it at even intervals, two pairs of plain gold earrings in different shapes, a pair of opal earrings, and her good diamond earrings, the sparkling quarter-carats she had learned fractions with. These and the slim, dainty Byzantine chain bracelet on her right wrist – a memento of Anya’s ball; Papa had given all four sisters matching bracelets the next day, the clasps hidden in a pair of tiny, finely-detailed birds’ heads whose four tiny diamond eyes represented the four of them – were the only ones of her particularly valuable pieces she had been allowed to bring; since wearing the bracelet was a given, she decided to just take a theme from there and wear her diamond earrings, too, as the studs were unlikely to cause her injury in the athletic class. One bracelet and a pair of earrings was not enough to consider herself dressed, though, so she turned her attention next to her left wrist, which she quickly adorned with her diamond bangle Papa had given her and square sapphire bracelet, and then her rings, opting for the long marquise sapphire with matching baguettes on its shanks on the longest finger of her left hand and the band of delicate diamond-studded links on her left ring finger. Her right ring finger was useless until she married, which was a shame, but she did improve the hand with a ring with a few inferior diamonds in a leafy pattern on its longest finger. At her wit’s end over necklaces, she finally went with the Byzantine choker, the silver necklace covered with gold so it looked like a much nicer piece than it was. If nothing else, she thought, the general dedication to gold and diamonds in her appearance would look grand, and it was short and heavy enough that she didn’t think it would impede her in any vigorous activity.

With that finally, if not entirely satisfactorily, settled, Tatiana was able to comb the front two-thirds of her hair out and then back, pin it into place with pretty clips, and then set out for the day.

She had time before classes and so decided to explore this American garden. She had to admit that the vegetation she’d seen so far was something less than impressive. Shrubs. Tall shrubs, elaborately arranged shrubs, but – shrubs. No flowers, no vegetables, no trees. Just a lot of shrubs. There had to be something better out here, though, and she was determined to find it.

She did not worry about getting lost as she wandered through the maze, not so much because she believed she had a particularly well-developed sense of direction or because she trusted the staff to come find her as because it just didn’t occur to her that she could be anywhere but where she intended to be at any time. She was delighted at one point to find a fountain with flowers – unfamiliar flowers, but definitely flowers – around it, but kept on, sure there had to be more. Sure enough, as she wandered on, she realized she was beginning to make out the roof of a greenhouse.

Getting there took some effort with the maze and how far into it she had looped before spotting this promising sight of interesting things, but she made that effort and emerged mostly unscathed, with only a few scratches on one arm from where one of her own bracelets had caught on a stick at one point. Pressing her robe sleeve to that to protect her gloves, she went up to the door and – found it locked.

Disappointed, she abandoned the greenhouse in favor of finding what looked like a dacha garden, something for food growing. That was good, she supposed, especially out in a remote place like this. The plot seemed well-cared for – no weeds that she saw, no dying or choking plants. Removing one glove, she picked up a bit of the earth and rubbed it between her fingers to get a feel for it and whether or not it was heavily fertilized. As she did this, however, someone else appeared and so Tatiana dropped her bit of dirt, wiped her fingers on her robe, and waved.

“Good morning,” she said, the words pronounced with a thick Russian accent. “This is good garden.”

    • Meandering and readingJehan Callahan, Tue Sep 12 15:00
      Jehan hadn’t been at Sonora for very long yet, but already the gardens had been classified as one of his favourite places. The library was quite wonderful too, with so many books that he would never... more
      • Discussing humor.Tatiana, Tue Sep 12 18:48
        Tatiana smiled involuntarily at her classmate when he made what she at first took for a very good joke. Sad , that was the English word – They used it to mean ‘unhappy,’ but in Russian, the word... more
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