Mrs Locket walks along the street in Windsor, looking for something to wear. Nothing has caught her eye, and the trip away from London hasn’t brought her the solace she thought it would.
Passing a teashop she decides on coffee and cake, concluding that an interlude buffered by paisley and cushion will help her reach that familiar level of serenity, unattainable for some days now. As her teeth sink into the cream and butter she finds that not only is she not calmer, but her discomfort is now frustration, simmering to a savage anger. She enjoys the sensation of biting.
Mrs Locket imagines the wedding next weekend. Alice is a bitch, she thinks. She knows the word is vulgar and uncouth and that she shouldn’t think such things of her niece, but she can’t help it, and anyway, it’s the truth! The image of Alice is now embossed in her conscious, riling her further. Alice is as airbrushed and brilliant as a beauty pageantee, blonde waves cascading over her milky, silky skin, diamonds and sparkle in every unnecessary crevice. As sickly sweet as Mrs Locket’s cupcake. Jessica would be by her side of course, all puffy and pink in layers of crepe, vying for the attention saturating her sister. It occurs to Mrs Locket that she is making a livid whirlpool of her cappuccino, stirring its foam into oblivion.
After some time, she catches herself in the mirror and is shocked by the state of her demeanour. Resting her teaspoon, she straightens, takes care to breathe deeply and tries her signature smile – so graceful, so poised. The frown marks haven’t quite gone, and – they deepen again – never will, but she has regained some composure, some refinement. This is Windsor! Mrs Locket reminds herself that she is a lady, and that her boys – her husband and her three sons – love her for it.