Word Count 489
A Glorious Dissonance
By Jane Malin
I wasn’t sure what surprises were in store for today. I studied the others in the room. There was an edgy tinge in the air. I stood as my attendant fussed over me and brushed my hair. Man, did he ever brush my hair, seemingly forever. Others had spent hours cleaning my attire and shining my buckles. I loved it when everyone got to show off the uniforms.
Dad was across the room going through the same rituals. He looked so handsome, his grey hair, more white now with age and wisdom. They called him Storm – a perfect moniker for one who had served so many situations.
I was listening intently, piecing together the clues for today. Dad had called it a graduation for me. “A true honor,” he said.
Just then, Colonel Browne came through the door. Everyone snapped to attention.
“As you were! Well, mornin’ Tyrone,” he said and slapped me on the shoulder. “You’re looking fine… fine”
Browne walked around the room speaking to each team. Simultaneously he could calm a room, rouse excitement, and instill confidence in us all.
The intercom squawked, and we could hear the Crown Equerry’s booming voice.
“Toby, you there?”
“Indeed Sir,” replied Browne.
“Any problems this morning?”
“No Sir. Tyrone’s a bit fidgety, but he’ll take the hill.” Everyone chuckled except me.
“’Right then. See you in the Horseshoe,” and the Equerry was gone.
I could hear the wheeled equipment being positioned outside.
We moved out into the sunshine and quickly took formation in the circular courtyard. Dad stood beside me. It seemed strange having Millie behind me, but Londonderry was alongside her. That old veteran, he’d keep her straight. As I thought of it – 19 May, 2018 – my first formal mission, and probably Londonderry’s last. I was proud to share that date with him.
What was happening? Colonel Browne looked like he was going to climb up on my dad’s back.
“Do you have to carry him, Dad?” I asked.
“It’s an honor, Tyrone. We’ll lead everyone.”
“At least he doesn’t have his pack on,” I chortled.
The crowd started to cheer and church bells started ringing. There on the chapel steps was the sight everyone had been awaiting.
“Dad, Harry’s in his Blues. And she… she’s beautiful!” I just couldn’t stand still.
We all recognized Harry; he was one of our brigade. But the lady was new. She shone like an angel in the noonday sun. The attendants helped her into a carriage. Colonel Brown snapped “Move on,” and we began strutting our stuff.
When we turned the corner onto the Long Walk a thundering, glorious dissonance arose – warbles, clapping, cheering, screams, chimes, bells. I’ll never forget it. I couldn’t even hear the horses’ hooves anymore. Thousands and thousands lined the 2-mile Long Walk yelling “Meghan, over here, Meghan!”
We all pranced; heads high.
“Man Dad, you were right. What a great day to be a Windsor Grey.”