No one wanted her. All valuables were removed in a blink of an eye apart from a few trinkets. On that last day, after my parental home lay empty of furniture, I remembered the time when my mother's eyes lit up after she'd unwrapped the 1920's lady who stood on a tiny brass plinth under delicate, copper palm fronds.
Two decades later, the statuette stands on a small oval table in my sitting-room, her face slightly upturned. She wears a jaunty black hat and a flapper dress of pale cream. Tiny perfect features show serious reserve, but one foot is raised and the skirt of her dress appears to be in mid-swirl as if she's been caught in one rare frozen moment of abandoned happiness.
At night, a Tiffany lamp lights up her image. Now, for some reason, I feel a strange sadness that she's forever alone and that her upturned face seems to be inviting someone to join her. I clasp my mug of cocoa and as I gaze at her, her foot begins to tap upon her plinth. Her skirt swirls out as her slender body sways.
I hear music and a handsome man approaches, arms outstretched. She moves into his embrace. He serenades her as they dance, and I recall a time when, hidden from view, I watched my mother, with arms wrapped around herself, dancing alone. It was as if she was in Julio Iglesias's embrace while he sang, Begin the Beguine, on the radio.
The music stops. Julio disappears. Only she is left. Her face slightly upturned. Features set.