She was up past her bedtime and delighting in every minute. My little Isabella Rose was having dinner at Newport Bay with the grown-ups, patiently ingesting the main course, while impatiently waiting for the promised sundae at the end. “Ma, I don’t want the nuts on my ice cream, just lots of chocolate sauce and extra whipping cream. Do you think that’s okay?” I did.
After her cherished indulgence, we moved to the ladies room to wash the sticky remains from her body. The restroom had a single wash basin and mirror, being fully occupied by a woman applying lipstick in shades of fire engine red. Fishnet stockings with attached rhinestones crawled up her legs, intersecting with a gold lame skirt, which barely covered the essentials. Her stiletto heels glittered, as did the plunging neckline of her blouse before opening to reveal a red lace bra against aging breasts. When she finished painting her lips and cementing locks of colored red hair with spray, she refreshed eyeliner by drawing little wings that moved seductively toward her hairline. She seemed completely unaware of us, as she dabbed perfume in her cleavage, then adjusted the dangle of rhinestones that fell from each ear.
I was thinking paid escort or street walker, as I glimpsed the emotionally weary spirit behind the glitter. The next thing I knew, Isabella was tugging the hem of her skirt, her eyes lit with wonder. The woman looked down, as if seeing us for the first time. “What do ya want?”
“Are you on your way to the ball?” Isabella asked. “To meet the prince? You look beautiful, just like Cinderella.”
The woman smiled, a crack of warmth opening in an otherwise hardened face.
“Yeah, somethin’ like that sweetie, somethin’ like that.”