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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
ABCs of DWP (P to T) I
No photograph ever captured the ever-changing swirl of colours in the blue-grey eyes. All calmness and still even when surrounded by frantic motion.
No painter's palette could ever match the bloom of colour across pale cheeks, rendering cool porcelain to warm ivory.
No sculpture's hand could ever carve this Galataea from stone, and yet her will was as unyielding as that of any quarry ever mined.
Even the most gifted of bards and skilled writers could never capture in words or song the joy her smile brought unbidden. It was as if the sun had chosen to rise and share its warmth only with you.
All this dashes through your mind as you take in the silent figure that lies at rest -- languid in slumber, and a peacefulness that is rarely seen during the day, and only now, a moment stolen from the outside world.
It's that unsettling feeling; an almost preternatural awareness that you are being watched even though the Office is (thankfully) empty and the quiet hum of the ventilation system has also died down to a passable silence.
A quiet chime somewhere on the floor signals a late-night visitor to the Office, and attention is focused on potential identities; only to have eyes widen at the sound of that distinctive clacking swiftly approaching.
Even though the question could never be voiced, the quizzical look would have been humorous if it weren't tinged completely by fear and a running list of possibilities primarily questioning why the Editrix would be back at the Runway offices on a Friday evening given her positive responses to at least two different functions where she was expected to make her brief appearances.
With scant acknowledgment of her second assistant, Miranda Priestly swept through and into her Office as if the hounds of Hell were nipping at her fashionable Louboutins. The treasured silence had been swept aside and replaced by an electric sensation everything gained a renewed sense of purpose now that the usual Friday night patterns had been broken.
Even though one could hear a million things about Miranda Priestly, the cardinal rule for her assistants were to not ask her any questions. To never ask her anything. Instead, by lots of observation and hopefully learning quickly about what she wanted by paying close attention, the answers would resolve themselves.
By her withering stares and whispered tones, the dress-downs were enough to strip the confidence from even the most capable of souls, and yet, there were the precious few that survived this trial by fire and emerged on the other side with a renewed sense of accomplishment.
If anyone ever dared to look at Miranda Priestly, and into her eyes, they'd realize the expressiveness of ten thousand shades of blue/grey that were sometimes hidden behind stylish frames and at other times, turned inwards. The sheer variation of colours, emotions -- both obvious and repressed, would have been enough to guide anyone to say yes, agree to anything, sell their soul to the devil, in order to see that hint of a smile that began at the eyes, and sometimes suffused her entire being with pleasure.
On the other hand, it was often noted that the eyes of Andrea Sachs were wide doe-eyes -- a rich brown that encouraged others to drown within the comfort of soothing murmurs and quiet laughter. Pools of darkness that hinted only at the iron-willed determination that underlay so much of what she did.
Although bystanders tended to be blind to what happened when the eyes of these two women met, it was impossible to miss the sparks that emerged a challenge issued and accepted, passing by a blink.
Very few noted the perceptiveness behind Andrea's gaze missing few details, and rarely failing to convert those details into a reality eagerly anticipated. Even fewer ever got to see the happiness that transformed the eyes of Miranda Priestly as she looked forward to a quiet weekend with her lover and children at her side.
A million girls might have killed someone for the opportunity, but it was never a matter of where you went after the first year (or the second, or even after Runway); it was more important to test what any former assistant to Miranda Priestly had learned over the course of their employment at the magazine.
The best ones were able to deploy their knowledge of the myriad of interpersonal relationships that tied the world together to make a difficult situation appear effortless. A case of who you knew matching and boosting what you knew.
Having survived the Hellish experience of being a (junior, senior, or former) assistant to Miranda Priestly, there was very little left in the world that could shatter the calm of these battle-hardened veterans. In fact, it might have been said that if you could last a year in the employ of Miranda Priestly, even she could learn to see you with new eyes.
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