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Memento Mori

by Cal Y. Pygia

 

"What a lovely purse!"

Monique glanced up from her plate of hors' oeuvres at the broad-faced, big-boned, bovine lady in the fabulous Gabriel Scarvelli gown. She recognized her immediately, of course. Anyone would. Unfortunately, it was too late to pretend not to have seen her and quietly slink away, and, of course, ignoring her wasn't an option. Gertrude Winn, social matron par excellence, was a pain in the ass, sure, but she had divorced her way high enough up the social food chain that one didn't slight her. Instead, Monique smiled. Besides, the older woman's praise was welcome. Although Monique had heard this compliment many times during the past year, she never tired of it. On the contrary, she loved to hear such kind words, for they made her think of Richard. Dear, sweet, generous Richard Hunter had been the love of her life, before the heart attack had taken him away from her forever, leaving her with only precious memories of him--and one present as unique and loving as Richard himself had been. "Thank you," she replied.

"I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it," Gertrude remarked. "Do you mind?"

Monique handed her the purse. "Not at all."

The matron examined the material, rubbing the soft tan leather gently between her thumb and forefinger. "The quality is magnificent," she declared, "absolutely magnificent."

Monique smiled. "Thank you."

"Most drawstring purses I've seen are ornamented with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, or other jewels, and most are velvet or satin, but yours is just--leather?"

"Something like that."

"Well, I've never seen anything like it," Gertrude repeated, returning the purse to its owner.

Monique's smile broadened. "I'd be surprised if you have. It's one of a kind."

The matron pursed her lips, her brows rising. "Ooohhh! Gucci?"

Monique shook her head.

"Versace?"

Again, Monique shook her head.

The socialite's eyes sparkled. "Surely it's not Scarvelli?"

"No, it's not Scarvelli, either," Monique agreed.

Gertrude sighed, admitting defeat. "Well? Tell me. Whom are you wearing?"

"Hunter."

As she thought of Richard, of his bright, warm eyes and his friendly, open smile, Monique fought a pang of grief. Richard Hunter hadn't been a famous fashion designer like Guccio Gucci, Gianni Versace, or Gabriel Scarvelli. He hadn't been a celebrity, of fashion or anything else. He'd been only a loving man of some means who'd loved Monique with all his heart, all his soul, all his mind, and all his strength. He'd also been the most generous man she'd ever known. When she'd confided in him about wanting to change her sex, he'd not only understood, but he'd also encouraged her, even at a cost of several thousands of dollars of his own money, paying for the estrogen, the voice coaching lessons, the electrolysis, the operation that had reduced the size of her larynx, allowing her a more feminine voice, and had offered to pay for the sex-change surgery as well. Monique had no doubt that Richard would have done so, too, had she gone through the final stage of her transformation rather than having elected, at the last moment, to retain her male genitals. Although she'd regarded herself as a woman since her earliest years as a boy, she just couldn't bring herself to part, once and forever, with her cock and balls. Richard had understood that decision, too, and he'd remained loyal to her. He'd been generous and gracious to the end. Even after his death, he'd demonstrated his unfailing love and devotion to her.

Gertrude frowned. "Whom did you say, dear?"

"Hunter."

"Hunter?" Gertrude looked puzzled. "Is he someone new?"

"No," Monique said. "He's not a fashion designer."

Gertrude's eyebrows rose. "Not a designer? Don't be ridiculous, dear. No one but a Versace, a Gucci, or a Scarvelli could possibly have fashioned such an exquisite purse as this!"

"He was a banker," Monique said.

"You won't tell me, then?"

"I did tell you, Madame Winn. My late love of my life, Richard Hunter, was a financier."

Gertrude smiled. "Oh, I see," she declared. "He had the purse designed for you."

Inwardly, Monique shrugged. "In a manner of speaking, I guess that's true," she admitted.

Gertrude looked vindicated. "Who was the designer?" she asked. This time, her tone made it clear that she would brook no coyness. She expected an answer.

Monique felt like telling Madame to go fuck herself, but Richard had wanted her to enjoy the finer things in life, even after his death, and he'd worked hard so that she could enjoy the not-so-polite world of polite society as a proper lady. She wasn't about to ruin her career as a social butterfly before it started, not after the sacrifices, financial and otherwise, that Richard had made her on behalf, so she could attend just such affairs as the debutante ball of Gertrude Winn's one and only daughter, Louise. She mentioned the designer's name, and the matron looked suitably shocked. "My God!" she murmured. Recovering quickly, she added, "I should have guessed. Only he could have made such an exquisite purse."

Monique smiled. The designer certainly was among the world's best, but, to give credit where credit was due, he hadn't exactly turned a sow's ear into a silk purse. The amazingly supple, tan-colored leather purse was a work of art, no doubt, but its elegance owed as much to the material of which it had been made as to its designer's unparalleled skill. In having supplied his scrotum as the material from which the drawstring purse was to be fashioned, Richard Hunter had assured that Monique's handbag would, indeed, be one of a kind, both a fashion accessory par excellence and an apt and proper memento mori of her wealthy lover's devoted munificence.

Gertrude whispered in Monique's ear. "Treasure it, my child."

"I do," the teary-eyed transsexual assured her. "I always will."

  

  

  

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2004 by Cal Y. Pygia. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, and compilation design) may be printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without the express written consent of StorySite and the copyright holder.