“Now I give you fair warning,” shouted the Queen, stamping on the ground as she spoke; “either you or your head must be off, and about half no time! Take your choice!” – The Queen of Hearts
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Queen of Hearts. She reminds me very much of a teacher I once had, I’ll refer to her as Miss Red. She was a giant of a woman, and her bark was definitely not worse than her bite – she terrified one and all. I would have probably always remembered her with a tremble in my heart if I had not shared a very thought provoking moment with her.
I was rushing along the corridor one day as Miss Red stepped out of her classroom. With horror I realised I was on a collision course and to avoid the wrath of Red I grabbed the fire hose, slipped and fell flat on my face. Sitting on the floor, bloody nose and cheek swelling by the second, my only concern was what consequences lay ahead. My fear was quashed when Miss Red knelt on the floor beside me and began, very gently, to tend to my wounds. When she had finished, she took my swollen face in her hands and smiled. “You’re going to have one heck of a black eye,” she said. “But don’t worry, you’ll be pretty as a picture again in no time.”
I blushed furiously as, back then, I was incredibly shy and had been teased into believing I was a bit of an ugly duckling. “I know what those silly girls say to you sweetheart.” (Sweetheart – I nearly fainted). “Take no notice, they are only jealous because you have what they want.”
I was slightly mystified as I come from a fairly modest background and did not really own anything of value. Miss Red soon put me right. “You’re smart, and not only do you have a good soul, but you have a pretty face, and that’s one powerful combination.”
Now my mum had always told me that beauty fades, and it’s what’s on the inside that counts. She was right of course, I see the proof in the mirror every day, but then Miss Red said something quite poignant. “Beauty may only be skin deep but never-the-less, it opens doors and hearts.”
I’ve often wondered if, because she was not the most attractive of ladies, she felt the need to live up to her looks and scare the pants off us. Maybe it was her way of armouring herself against a sometimes cruel world, and maybe that’s why the Queen of Hearts ruled Wonderland with such tyranny – she just needed to be loved.
If I may, I’d like to dedicate this blog post to Miss Red who taught me to look for the beauty in everyone.