know it all (chapter 23, part 3)

(Mrs. Beale observing her grey garden.)


They turn left on Esplanade Avenue.  Behind a high wall, through a patio thick with banana trees and yellow blossoms he ushers her into the little iron door and up the stairs to the room where the lady sits in a canopy bed at the center of an unlit room that smells, overwhelmingly, of roses.

“Who’s there?” the old woman calls out in a high, childish voice.

“It’s me,” replies Robin. “And I brought someone for you to meet.”

“Oh.  It’s you.  Well come on over.  I was just resting my eyes.”

It takes a couple moments for Eleanor’s eyes to adjust to the dimness to make out the details of the old woman propped against the pillows with white cotton ruffles buttoned up to her chin and spidery white hair piled high on her head with bobby pins.  Her skin is so white she almost glows.  Robin nudges Eleanor forward to take the hand held out to her—it feels cool and soft as linen.  

The old lady smiles at Elle.  “Did you bring me a present, Robin?”

“Mother, this is Eleanor Westwood Chandra, my star pupil.”


A large portion of this chapter has been deleted.

To read more, contact me and we can discuss publication. (!)

About Anna Fonté

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté, is an author who writes about invisibility, outsider status, everyday monsters, and her attempts to befriend the neighborhood crows. The things she writes want you to look at them.


  1. Interesting. Well written.

  2. 2&4&12B 9 18A 14B 22 12A 18B 20B&7&16A&16B 14A 15A&15B 11
    23C 3B 3A 19A&19B13&23A&23B&21A&21B 20A 6 10 21C 8&17A&
    17B&5&1 – It’s the idea of not dieing alone that scares the hell out of
    me, I’ll probably be in bed – or in the woods in the middle of nowhere
    if I get my way – anywho I certinly won’t look my best and certinly don’t
    want to be surrounded by people who only think they know what is
    best for me – I’ll want privacy – more then any hospital can offer and
    complete seculision in the magisty and fury of nature. There’d be
    no concern for silly things like safty, or comfort. They are for the living.
    Finally I’ll be free, if I still can – to do something really crazy and reckless,
    or just sit back and relax – being a wrinkly old maid is no better time to
    truly run with the wolves.

    • I completely agree! How could I die with someone watching? It seems like a very private thing. They say that’s when it happens– when the loved one leaves for 5 minutes to speak to a nurse or go for a cup of coffee, that’s when there’s room to die.

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