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  • Writer's picturePhyllis H. Moore

Mardi Gras/Valentine

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

Mildred Annette Collins, dressed for the Valentine Ball, stared directly into Sabine's Polaroid camera with a stoic expression. It was a joke between them. Sabine wore a purple gown, with flourishes of gold designed by Ms. Emily and held a masquerade mask, draped with shiny gold cord.

Neither of them intended to go to the Ball. They would ride the ferry to Galveston and sit in the movie theatre, eating popcorn, a subtle rebellion to the coinciding Mardi Gras celebration going on in the center of the island. Later, they stopped downtown on their way back to the ferry and walked the Strand with revelers participating in parades. Millie said she didn't mind that she'd never have an opportunity to be a debutante, escorted by a beau, through a throng of white, elderly krewe members to a stage to be presented. However, Sabine bristled that the possibility didn't exist for her friend, even though she'd never choose to participate either.

It was the 70s, after all, and Sabine had a long list of grievances she wanted addressed. The girls, almost 20, had been inseparable since fifth grade. Their brothers had been best friends for much longer. They'd been outcasts, in their small community for reasons they had no control over. Millie lifted her chin, holding herself in a dignified stance as they strolled the streets. Sabine's wild red hair, rioted around her face, painted with extreme drama meant to menace.

Millie grabbed Sabine's hand, looking at her out of the corner of her eye. "You're impossible, my friend. I think you're scaring people." Her voice rose over the music and cheers for beads.

"Good," Sabine said. "That's my intention. People have scared me all my life."

"Yes, but not these people." Millie smirked. "Besides, you're fearless."

Sabine squeezed Millie's hand. "How do you know? Wendell, Marvin, Ray--any of those guys could be in this crowd somewhere."

Millie raised her brows, her red lips pursed. "I think you've probably shot at them with your slingshot or bow and arrow and not Cupid's arrow, by the way. You scared them off a long time ago."

"Well, they deserved it." Sabine held her elaborate mask up to her eyes and scanned the crowd. You always have been the level head, but I'm smarter."

"Yes. You are and always have been, but my wit is stronger."

"Laissez le bon temps rouler."

Check out these characters in the Sabine series, currently being revised.

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