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The Muse by Jessie Burton
The Muse by Jessie Burton

The Muse by Jessie Burton – Perhaps that woman was a witch coming to herald the change in my path. I don’t believe so; a different woman did that. But her presence does seem a macabre end to that chapter of my life. Did she see in me a kindred vulnerability? Did she and I occupy a space where our only option was to fill the gap with paper? I don’t know. There does remain the very slim possibility that all she wanted was a new pair of shoes. And yet I always think of her as something from a fairy tale, because that was the day that everything changed.

OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS since sailing to England from Port of Spain, I’d applied for many other jobs, and heard nothing. As the train from Southampton chugged into Waterloo, Cynth had mistaken house chimneys for factories, the promise of plenty of work. It was a promise that turned out to be harder to fulfil. I often fantasized about leaving Dolcis, once applying to a national newspaper to work as a tea- girl. Back home, with my degree and self- regard, I would never have dreamed of serving any soul tea, but Cynth had said, "A one- eye stone– deaf limping frog could do that job, and they still won’t it give to you, Odelle."

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