Nothing he allows me to see is by accident. Everything is placed for maximum effect. The couch is nine feet long, but he makes it look like a snug loveseat for two. The glass coffee table between us appears fragile and barely able to hold the weight of the glass top. I’m sure if he threw me into it, I would break into a million pieces while it might have a greasy smudge for the trouble.
Nothing he allows me to see is out of his control.
I am not used to dresses. Not used to kneeling. Not used to the wearing of wigs or the holding of my tongue. Not used to keeping my head bowed until the instinct of rebellion passes.
Not used to being lorded over.
Not used to accepting it.
His skin is blacker than a midnight eclipse. His pants and shirt are whiter than the gleam of a knife’s perfect edge. I note he is wearing modern clothing. A long sleeved, button up shirt. But he has the sleeves perfectly folded up with military precision.
The fabric of the couch looks spun from lapis lazuli. Blue deep enough to make the ocean jealous with glittering hints of gold announcing themselves the few times he moves.
He is a giant. His knees are higher than the coffee table. The coffee table is higher than my bowed head. His arms are stretched out across the back of the couch in a posture of comfort. This too, is for maximum effect. His legs are slightly apart in a posture that would be offensive if anyone higher ranking than him was present.
This is his house. There is no one here that could outrank him.
Lips darker than his skin do not smile. Hidden eyes hold me in place with an unblinking gaze. The [animal] mask covers his face above the lip. A crest of feathers float over his head, hiding the crown of his head.
His shoes are woven from reeds in patterns that only a child’s hands has the dexterity to make so small. There is not a single piece of leather on him.
This is the lesson he has for me today: To be quiet.
It is not about the lack of generating noise. It is not about the lack of movement. It is about the lack of internal chatter. To be quiet and still but without losing awareness.
I am allowed to study my surroundings with as minimal movement as possible. I am not allowed to interact with any of it.
He makes no promises. No threats. No riddles to tie my cognition with. No gloating over keeping me in my place. No pokes at my ego. He too, is quiet.
He is far better at it than I am.
The corner of his mouth moves just enough to shift a shadow.
«That will do. For now.»
I am dismissed.