There’s no such thing as a society matron anymore. There is no orchid corsage to toss aside at evening’s end. There is no one to wear a strand of pearls and shake her head sadly over one tragedy, or another.
Monique has been re-assigned. She ticks the Ms box under title on the form for her art gallery membership. She goes to a job for which she is well paid and has many kinds of influence. How Monique got this job, how it generates revenue for her company, or why the position exists at all is a mystery to all who contemplate it.
Monique cannot help it.
She tells no one. She does not tell her husband. He, also, has influence and a job no one is certain how he obtained, how the position generates income for his company or why it exists at all.
He is also a secret contemplator. They are both among the ranks of those who ask, “What’s the meaning of it all?”
Once, there would have been an answer given at a black tie gala, an event of some consequence, perhaps even an election win following a positive, positive campaign. Once there would have been an answer behind the safety mask and helmet bestowed upon those who tour old landmine sites. Once, there would have been magnificent acts of generosity and volunteerism.
Those days are gone.
Monique and her husband live in the era where meaning is reflected in the gold flakes deployed in emulsions. Meaning is made by smoothing and soothing lubrications over the shining skin of the rich and beloved. Their selfies shine brightly.
There was once another way. There were well-cut suits and knee-length skirts. There were lunches and charity balls to plan for hospitals and children’s homes. There were golf tournaments and tennis tournaments for treatments and cures.
There were answers to secret contemplations in the void between status updates.
There’s no such thing as a society matron anymore, but Monique has an idea to re-brand it with vintage shoulder pads and the most perfect orchid corsage.