It was a roaring time. An era that enjoyed excess with reckless abandon. When the dances were as fast as the life styles and the girls glittered as bright as their beaded dresses. The kind of dresses that flirted from afar, demanding attention even when peering out from underneath a fur stole. Such dresses only ever came out to play at night, worn by the starlets of the day with their thin lips and bewitching eyes. Smiles were common, laughter – contagious. Each night the competition to see who could laugh the loudest and have the most fun was at play. The women danced on tables and swung from chandeliers. But no matter how much they shimmied and shouted with glee, there was one girl that remained undefeated champion, living the largest and breaking a record number of hearts along the way.
Her charms were refined. An effortless blend of coy and harlot. Her eyes sparkled with each blink of thick feathered lashes. She was at the top of her game. Working her way up through society to bag a man of great power and poise. He showered her with diamonds and bathed her in champagne. She made him feel like the king of the world and so his power grew. Together they were an unstoppable force. The Bonnie and Clyde of high society.But not all that glitters remains gold, and what is not based on love and truth is sure to fade. With a ruthless appetite for money, her man threw himself into his work. Seeking power further than his city he set about crossing boarders to satisfy his hunger, leaving her to face jealous eyes and whispering rumours. Though she was surrounded by all the wealth in the world, all the people she had beat at the game, she was alone. Lonely.
She put on her mask of giggles and charm to hide the heartbreak in her heart. And just like before she managed to fool them all. All bar one. A trumpet boy who played while she danced, could see the tears behind her eyes. He watched while she sighed between sips of whisky. The way her smiles quickly faded when no one was watching. When the lights grew dim and her mask had grown weak, he seized the chance. Grabbing her hand and leading her away. He took her to a jazz bar on the wrong side of the tracks. She talked, he listened, she smoked, he told secrets. They made love. And fell in love in the process.
With the trumpet boy there were no feelings of loneliness. No mask required. She was naked, both physically and emotionally. And she’d never felt richer. Their affair lasted for endless dark nights. The whispers grew louder but she was too blinded by love to care. She grew careless of her secret, and the rumours spread like wildfire across the Atlantic.
Once he got wind that she had taken a trumpet boy as a lover, he quickly returned in a furore. The scandal needed to be squashed and his power, asserted. He put a stop to the affair and tried to repair the damage but it was too late. Her mind was made up, she was leaving him for the trumpet boy. The screams grew loud and the threats became violent. He was determined to not be made a fool. Not by a silly girl. Before she could escape he had bought her a ticket out of town. Banishing her to an island far away. Leaving her glittering life.After days of tears she arrived on the island, put on her mask of giggles and charms and directed her luggage to her new home; a hut on the beach. It was a world away from the city penthouse she once called home, but she was determined to live well, and sure her trumpet boy would find her. While she waited she enjoyed the sun. Wearing her beads on the beach and teaching locals the Charlsten. Months went by and she kept a brave face. Though her mask was on she grew more and more eccentric. When the beads on her dress fell off she replaced them with shells. Fanning herself with palm fronds and wearing fresh flowers in her hair.The flowers soon wilted and the winter weather came. As the ocean grew cold and the wind grew strong, she grew weak. Each morning she painted her face with rouge and mascara, and waited by the waves, looking out for her trumpet boy. By sunset, the painful realisation that he wasn’t coming set in, her tears sent her mascara sliding down her cheeks. Her mask was well and truly gone. She was exposed. Her hair left white and face stripped bare. There was no one to rescue her. Loneliness was all she knew.The ocean’s waves grew deafening and her mind began to slip into madness. The once bright beaded dresses now appeared like tattered mermaid rags. Her short curls were now long strands, intertwined with seaweed. Barely recognisable from the glittering girl she used to be, she had transformed into a siren. With each and every ship that sailed past, she whaled and sang deliriously, luring them to shore. Some fell for her charm, crashing their ships into the island’s jagged rocks, while other’s turned away, leaving her to pine for her loved one. Waiting for her trumpet boy. For eternity, once more.