x always felt herself a bit inarticulate, but in her mind’s eye, she saw herself as Madame X of the famed portrait by John Singer Sargent, pale skin and black dress clearly delineated in whalebone. Aristocratic nose turned left, directly across her unblemished shoulder. In such a dress, one needn’t even have to hold oneself upright. In such a dress, she imagined herself singing the Lakme Flower Duet, despite her complete inability to sing. She imagined herself holding her own in cocktail parties and games of chess in Bryant Park, New York. She imagined herself a glorious black bird, flying out and over the Great Lakes.