Y is for Yuri

Change is a part of life I’ve learned to accept. Sometimes change is a gift, offering me beauty, insights, precious moments I’d be less without. At other times, change takes something precious away, leaving me altered, trying to figure out how to cope with what’s left of me. I think my ancestor, the artist Judith Cross, was constantly relearning and adapting to this lesson. Being in love with Elizabeth Hartford, having intimate knowledge of Elizabeth would force her to. A Portrait Is Worth a Thousand Words and the portrait Judith painted of her beloved speaks volumes. I see the marks on replications of that famous likeness of fatal flaws in Elizabeth Hartford, flaws invisible to Westerleigh’s adoring eyes; a tightness around the generous mouth, suggesting arrogance, impatience, and a stubborness that ignores all reason and common sense. That last trait has been passed down to future generations, for Westerleigh has it, too, in abundance. All of these flaws were acknowledged by one who loved Elizabeth, yet was not blind to her faults. If only Wes wasn’t so blind. He doesn’t see the totality of a woman who did great things, yet made great mistakes. When he looks at Elizabeth Hartford, he sees his childhood idol and ideal, everything he’s ever worshipped or adored in a woman. Nothing and no one comes close to her. His love for this imaginary paragon makes me want to scream sometimes, but what would Westerleight Hartford be without it? The way his eyes light up and soften when he speaks of Elizabeth, the flush that colors his cheek takes my breath away. I’m as fixated by his passion as he is by Elizabeth. Heh, what does this say about me? What does this say about my passion? I was only too eager to dress Wes up like a doll in lace and velvet, transforming him into a girl so he could fool Fiona Hartford and visit Hartford Hall. What a lovely girl he made, lovelier than most I’ve sketched or painted. It’s almost as if he was meant to wear these clothes and I enjoy seeing him in them, only I worry there’s a more sinister design at work in transforming Westerleigh into a Hartford heiress, one that’s not mine. I sense it in my dreams, in the glimpses I catch out of the corner of my eye of a face at the window. I find myself wondering about Fiona’s invitation, wondering if a spectral hand is manipulating us all at her convenience. At the same time, I feel that the blouse and the skirt released something in Wes, brought out an aspect lying dormant within him, waiting to be expressed. It’s a change which could help Wes start living for himself rather than Elizabeth. I can’t help hoping this will come to pass, yet Westerleigh’s passion for his idol must play out. I have a feeling that passion will change at Hartford Hall, shattering Westerleigh’s innocence. Perhaps it’s inevitable. Change tends to be both good and bad. Who knows what it will awaken in Westerleigh? Who knows what it will destroy? I just hope I’ll be able to help him when it happens.

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