The Striper Aston a Bristol blue Decanter set and stand
We two treasures are the only ladies permitted in the drawing room after hours. Sisters; twins. Our matching blown-glass gowns glinting beneath the lamps – one of us the glorious azure of a Somerset sky, the other a glossy midnight, catching the glimmers from the quieting city with a silvery eye. Pick your poison, gentlemen. Our throats are wrapped in silver lace, our brows adorned with caps, pretty, ready to be lifted from our fragile heads, when a hand wraps round our slender arms; when the men need us.
And they do need us. To calm their nerves, to bolster their jokes, or to let forth the whispers of their hearts, secrets that their sober minds have kept at bay. Sometimes they reach for us just once, then turn away. Sometimes our curving hands are clutched so much, that the glass retains the warmth from the men’s frantic fingers, as they sway.
No ladies, of course. Not in here. Not now. The girls may meet our eye from the darkened door – a glance of sisterhood. Thankful, if we have made their lovers sweet and sleepy; watchful, if our gowns our empty, our essence truly drained. But they don’t come in.
Although, perhaps, some gloomy, furtive afternoon, a lonely girl might slide us from our steady seat with quivering hands. Pour a silent inch of scotch, like a prayer, to ease the anxious mumblings in her mind, or take from us a steadier voice with which to gift unwelcome news. A swig, a swilling of the glass. And then she’s gone, without the raucous laughter of her husband, or pompous jibes and rosy cheeks. But with strength and grace, an unknown steel that most will never see. Except us; except for me.
Of course, that was back then. That was when the house breathed and buzzed. When busy hands would keep us clean, and full, and fresh. When sly and secret servants might sneak a little sip, a little fire to stave off the early morning cold, to warm their skinny fingers until the empty grates were stuffed with coal. But times, they change. We were passed along, as trinkets are, from hand to hand. We were kept in cupboards, left on shelves, lost in shadowy corners where we swallowed nought but dead spiders and dust. Until, one day, we stood perched, expectant, on a stall.
Soft hands, a woman’s hands, plucked us from the cloth. Brazen, unashamed to feel our subtle curves, or to scrutinise our ageing bumps and nooks. To pay good money, to be the one to take us home. Careful hands, that caressed away the tarnish from our silver heads, and soaked away the crusting dust, until our glass gleamed so blue, the air balloons might have come to pass through, mistaking us for a breaking summer dawn. From darkness into light.
And now, with hope, we wait. We wait for what ‘might’…
Perhaps someday soon, our bellies will be rich again with malt or grape. Or maybe taste a more acidic brew, or silky oil to soothe our throats, and make them new. Some day. We hope, someday soon.