William and the Blue Dress

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers
This is a tale of a boy called William and how he came to be the reluctant owner of a blue dress.

Submitted: April 01, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 01, 2019



Part 1 – The Amazons

Part 2 – The Journey Home

Part 3 – Mother’s Secret

Part 4 – Mrs Wilson

Part 5 – Wilma

Part 1 – The Amazons

It was such a nice day. I decided to walk home from school instead of taking the bus. Mum wouldn’t be home for hours, so I was in no hurry to get there. I loved my mum. There were just the two of us now. She was a widow and I was her only child – a bit of a mummy’s boy I suppose, but I didn’t care.

I had barely started my journey home when I saw a group of girls milling about a bus stop ahead of me. They looked a bit older than me. I didn’t recognise any of them. Nor did I recognise their uniform – maroon gym frocks. Gym frocks were common uniforms for schoolgirls in the 1950s. My uniform was equally boring – just a grey shirt and shorts and a grey jersey for cold weather. I had a necktie, but that went straight into my schoolbag as soon as I got out of school. I didn’t like wearing ties.

The girls made me nervous. They were too boisterous for my liking, and I was fair game for taunting. I blamed my hair for that. I had begged Mum to let me have a short-back-and-sides haircut like other boys, but she loved my thick, wavy head of hair. She said it would be a crime to cut it short. It wasn’t very long really – just down to my collar. In less than a decade, a new rock band called the Beatles would popularise this as a masculine hairstyle. But for now, it was distinctly feminine.

I thought of crossing the road to avoid a potentially unpleasant encounter, but pride prevailed. I couldn’t let myself be intimidated by a gaggle of giggling schoolgirls. Taunts didn’t break bones. I strode boldly on.

The girls took up nearly the entire footpath. I had barely enough room to edge past without stepping into the gutter. It would have been OK if a beefy girl hadn’t stepped back and bumped into me without warning. I had to grab hold of her to stop myself from falling. Unfortunately, I grabbed her in a place where no gentleman should grab a lady without prior consent.

‘Get off me you freaking pervert!’ she screeched. Her voice could have shattered glass.

‘I’m so sorry,’ I said, even though it hadn’t been my fault.

She thrust her face into mine and gave vent to a stream of profanity that could have peeled the paint off a picket fence. It wasn’t a pretty face – rather like that of a pug dog with a personality problem. And she had bad breath.

I walked away.

‘Don’t turn your back on me while I’m yelling at you,’ she screamed.

I had no wish to discuss anything with Pug-face, so I kept moving. But she had yet to conclude her colourful castigation. I could hear her footsteps pounding the pavement behind me. Should I stop for a chat, or should I run? I ran. She ran. Then everyone ran. With gleeful whoops, the entire mob of maroon-clad Amazons joined the chase.

They were gaining on me. Startled pedestrians looked in our direction. Common sense told me to stay on the street. The Amazons weren’t likely to tear me from limb from limb in front of witnesses; but panic and common sense do not sit well together. I vaulted a low wooden fence and fled into an adjacent bush reserve.

I thought they would give up at that point. I was wrong. Worse, I had made a terrible mistake. I had led my pursuers away from potential witnesses. They caught up with me in a secluded clearing. A massive phoenix palm shaded its grassy surface. Ferns, native shrubs and small trees crowded its perimeter. It was a retreat, normally disturbed only by echoing birdsongs.

Pug-face reached me first. Wham! She took me down with a flying tackle. Jeez that girl was tough. By the time I scrambled to my feet, I was hemmed in by a wall of maroon gym frocks. There must have been about a dozen of them. I tried to barge my way through, but they pushed me back and sent me staggering from girl to girl like a game of pass the parcel. I wondered when the tearing apart of limbs would begin.

But there would be no tearing of limbs that day. Pug-face just wanted to resume her tirade. She had interesting things to say about my sexual orientation, my ancestry, and my perverted personality – none of which were true. When she paused for breath at last, a new voice piped up.

‘Why are you dressed like a boy?’

‘What?’ I said.

‘You look like a girl.’

My accuser was a skinny little squirt with uneven pigtails and a bad case of acne. She wore glasses with strong lenses that made her look bug eyed – rather like a mad scientist.

‘Are you nuts?’ I enquired. ‘You know I’m not a girl. I’ve just got thick hair, that’s all. No law against that.’

‘Well, I don’t think we can take your word for that.’ She smirked. ‘Let’s take a look.’

‘What do you mean? Look at what?’

Pug-face thumped me hard on the shoulder. ‘She wants you to get your gear off, stupid.’

‘You’re kidding, right?’

‘Nope,’ said Bug-eyes. Her smirk blossomed into a fully fledged grin. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

A girl started clapping and chanting: ‘Off, off, off’. Her companions joined her with gusto. I was stunned. My god, they want me to strip! I couldn’t do that. No way. I stared at the ground and folded my arms.

‘Aw, he’s shy. Isn’t that cute?’

‘Let’s help him, shall we?’


‘Come on girls, lets teach this little pervert a lesson.’

They tore my shirt off first, without bothering to undo the buttons. Then they threw me to the grass and held me down while eager hands pulled my shoes and socks from my feet. I felt them tugging at my trousers next. Then they, too, were gone. I clambered to my feet and stood facing the girls in my grass-stained underpants. Anger, shame and outrage sought to dominate my demeanour. I stifled all three and settled for defiance.

‘Are you done now?’

‘Not quite,’ said Bug-eyes from behind me. She grabbed my underpants and yanked them down. I bent over to pull them back up. She gave me a shove and sent me sprawling. Then she ran around like a mad thing, whooping and waving my underpants about like a trophy before tossing them into the wicked fronds of the phoenix palm. I knew I wouldn’t be getting those back. Phoenix palms have viciously sharp frond spikes with poisonous tips. Impossible to climb.

Enraged, I leapt to my feet and rushed at Bug-eyes with the intention of doing her grievous bodily harm. The rest of the Amazons came swiftly to her aid. Pug-face put me in a headlock. I tried in vain to break free.

‘Have we got anything we can tie this crazy creep up with?’ she panted.

‘There might be something in his schoolbag,’ said Bug-eyes. There was: my necktie. They stood me in front of a tree and used the tie to bind my hands behind its narrow trunk.

‘You can’t leave me here like this!’ I shouted.

‘Sure we can,’ said Pug-face. ‘But we have to tidy the place up first.’ She picked up my trousers and tossed them casually into the phoenix palm.

‘Noooooo,’ I said – or something to that effect.

Some of the girls gasped and had the decency to look uncomfortable at this unkind act. Then Bug-eyes threw my bag and shirt into the tree. Pug-face rolled my socks into a ball and did the same with them. She looked at my shoes and said, ‘I think I’ll keep these’. Then she looked at me and said, ‘We’re done now pretty boy. Next time you meet a lady; just watch where you put your hands.’ They left. Some of the girls hesitated, as if they might come back and release me, but none did.

Once they were gone, it took only a few minutes to free myself. I hadn’t been injured, apart from a few scrapes and bumps; but I was a long way from home with nothing to wear but a necktie. I sighed. It just wasn’t my day.

Part 2 – The Journey Home

My first priority was to find something to wear. My clothes were lost among the fronds of the phoenix palm, but I could see my schoolbag hanging by its strap from a frond that sagged under its weight. The bag held nothing that I could wear, but it did have my house key and a number of other things that I preferred not to lose. I gathered up some stones and started taking potshots to shake the bag loose. It came down with my first shot.

Next, I looked around for something to cover my nakedness. I found nothing. If I was going to find something to wear, I would have to look someplace else. I had an idea where that place might be.

The bush reserve occupied a narrow strip of land between the street and a large open park. A row of houses backed onto the park not far from where I was standing. Houses had backyards. Backyards had clotheslines. Clotheslines had clothes – I hoped. Even a towel would be better than nothing. It was worth a shot, anyway. Hell, it was my only shot.

I found a track that took me to the edge of the park. Its surface was rough and stony, but that didn’t bother me. I had spent a lot of time barefoot that summer, and the soles of my feet were like leather.

The park itself was a vast open space of mown grass. A track for walking or cycling meandered around its perimeter through random clumps of trees and bushes. The centre of the park was a popular venue for such events as sports, carnivals and displays. The park was empty now, but I kept close to the bush where I could dive for cover if anyone appeared.

A driveway separated the bush reserve from the row of houses. After making sure that I was unobserved, I nipped across and ducked into the shadow of the nearest fence. Then I made my way along the fences in search of clotheslines. Most of the fences were taller than me, so I had to jump to see over those I couldn’t see through. I must have made a strange sight: jumping along the fences like a demented kangaroo. I saw clotheslines aplenty – most of them empty, but not all of them.

I found one sagging under the weight of what must have been somebody’s weekly wash. Only two items interested me. A white tee shirt and a pair of khaki shorts. All I had to do was sneak over the fence and liberate them.

That looked easy enough. The fence was made of wooden palings with a smooth timber cap along the top. I could clamber over that without doing myself a mischief. The loaded clothesline would screen me from the sight of anyone in the house. Perfect!

I grasped the top of the fence with both hands and swung one leg over. That was as far as I got. A frenzied barking erupted from below. It was just a small dog, but it had teeth and it made a dreadful noise. Without waiting to introduce myself, I dropped back down from the fence and dashed for the nearest clump of bush. I waited, but nobody came to investigate the noise. I guessed that the dog was the only one home, but that was one too many. I moved on.

I found only one more clothesline with anything on it. Just a blue dress and matching petticoat. Bummer! But I was getting worried now. I couldn’t be sure of having the park to myself for much longer. The dress would have to do. Better to be ridiculed in a dress than arrested for indecent exposure.

The fence here was lower than most. I swept my gaze over the yard beyond but could see no sign of a dog in residence – just a black cat dozing on a garden seat in the last rays of the afternoon sun. The black cat could be a bad omen, but cats don’t bark and they rarely attack visitors. I deemed it safe to enter.

I disregarded the rusty corrugated iron fence. If I tried climbing over that, I would most likely remain a soprano for the rest of my life. But that was OK. Someone had thoughtfully installed a gate – and the gate was not locked.

I pushed the gate open. It’s hinges squealed. I froze. The cat looked up and glared at me. Nothing else stirred. The curtains in the windows remained un-twitched. I unfroze and crept along a weedy gravel path to the clothesline. The dress hung in the company of a gauzy layered petticoat – the kind that girls liked to flash when dancing rock-n-roll. I ignored the petticoat and scuttled back to the gate with the dress clutched to my chest. The cat yawned and went back to sleep.

I had no qualms about taking the dress. The state of emergency justified a little larceny. I carried my prize to a grove of trees where the sun cast deep shadows under their dense foliage. I examined the dress. I guessed it belonged to a young teenager. It was light blue with stripes of darker blue and a few white trimmings. The skirt was long and full in the fashion of the day. I was sure that it would fit me. It would have to do.

I pulled the dress over my head and became lost in a mass of fabric. I managed to get my appendages through the appropriate holes at last; but the dress felt awfully uncomfortable.

I had put it on back to front!

After getting the dress on the right way around, I encountered another problem. The dress had a zip that ran up the back from waist to neck. I didn’t have the reach to do that up. Something to do with male bone structure. I searched my schoolbag for some kind of tool and found a piece of string. Perfect! I used the string to close the zip. Then I pulled the string free and put it back in my bag. By so doing, I had effectively locked myself into the dress without knowing it.

Just then, I heard voices – lots of voices. I ducked behind the trunk of the largest tree and saw dozens of kids coming into the park from its farthest entrance. It must have been for sports practice or something. I had to get out of the park quickly.

I resisted the urge to run. I figured that, by walking casually in the shade of the fences, I had a fair chance of getting away unnoticed. The lowering sun would be in the eyes of anyone looking my way. Even so, I expected someone to call out ‘Hey, there’s a boy over there wearing a dress’. But nobody did.

I couldn’t avoid being seen once I reached the street, so I strode along feigning confidence, as if I always dressed this way. That seemed to work. People walked past me with barely a glance. A pleasant grandmotherly lady stopped beside me. She smiled. I smiled back.

‘My, that’s a pretty dress, dear,’ she said. ‘But shouldn’t you be in your school uniform today? You haven’t been wagging school have you?’

‘Uh, no ma’am,’ I replied. So that’s it. People think I’m a girl! ‘I’ve been home and changed.’

‘But you’ve still got your schoolbag. Oh, but that’s a boy’s bag isn’t it? All the girls I know carry school cases.’

‘Yeah, well ... this is my friend’s bag. He left it at my place. I’m taking it to him right now.’

‘That’s nice. You’re looking a bit flushed, dear. Are you feeling alright?’

‘Yeah, sure. I’m OK ... thanks ... late ... gotta go!’

I took off before the lady could continue the conversation. The encounter had shaken me, but it was good that she thought I was a girl. I didn’t mind being taken for a girl if it would get me home without attracting attention. For once, I was glad of my long hair.

I began to enjoy the novelty of the dress. I liked the way the skirt swished about my legs as I walked. I began to skip along like a six-year-old, flipping my skirt from side to side with unrestrained glee. Then I remembered that I wasn’t wearing any underwear. Stupid! I resumed my journey in a more sedate manner.  

My confidence waned as I got closer to home. People knew me here. Locals wouldn’t mistake me for a girl. I wished I had a big hat or a scarf or something. Having none of these things, I combed my hair forward with my fingers. It wasn’t enough to cover much of my face, so I walked with my head bent forward. That didn’t go well. I walked into a lamppost and gave myself a sore head. I finished the rest of my journey with my hand to my head. It didn’t make my head feel any better, but it hid my face admirably.

I reached my house without further incident and let myself in the front door. Once inside, I called out to Mum to let her know I was home. She didn’t answer. She hadn’t arrived home yet. Good. That gave me time to get out of the dress and hide it for later disposal. I headed for my bedroom.

As I passed the open door to my mother’s room, I glimpsed my reflection in her floor-standing mirror. I stopped and backed up a couple of paces. Was that really me? I had to take a closer look. A quick peak would take only a few seconds.

I entered the room and approached the mirror. An astonishingly pretty girl approached the mirror from the other side. She looked a bit like me. My heart beat faster. I smiled, she smiled. I waved, she waved. I twirled, she twirled. I was instantly infatuated with ... with myself? No, that would have been weird. The image in the mirror was more like a Wilma than a William. I was infatuated with Wilma.

Wilma’s hair was a mess. That would never do. I went over to Mum’s dressing table and picked up her hair brush. I watched myself brush Wilma’s hair. She had such lovely wavy hair.

The sound of Mum’s key scrabbling for the keyhole broke the spell. Panic! All of a sudden, I wasn’t Wilma any more. I was me looking utterly stupid in a stolen dress. If Mum saw me in her bedroom like this ... no, I couldn’t let that happen. The hairbrush fell from my hand. I lunged for it and banged my head on the edge of the dressing table. Several cosmetic bottles fell over. I set them right and then groped for the brush, knocking it out of reach. Damn! I had to leave it there. There was no time!

I heard Mum’s key slide into the lock.

I dashed out of the bedroom, reaching behind my back, trying to unzip the dress as I went. I lost my balance, slipped on a loose mat and skidded into a hall table. A delicate figurine teetered on its edge.

I heard Mum’s key turn in the lock.

The figurine fell. I lunged and caught it just before it hit the floor.

The front door opened.

I scrambled to my feet and fumbled the figurine back onto the table.

Mum stepped into the hall.

She gaped.

I had been caught!

‘William!’ said Mum.

She seemed at a loss for words. I saw her lips twitch. Was that a hint of a smile?

‘You really ought to be wearing a petticoat under that,’ she said.

Part 3 – Mother’s Secret

Mum’s reaction might have been less bewildering had I been aware of a secret that she had kept from me since the day I was born. She had been expecting a girl! She even had a name for me: Wilma. Is that weird or what? We were very close. Mum often looked at me and saw the daughter that she never had. She kept my hair long to help the illusion. It’s not surprising that she was delighted to see me complete the illusion by putting on a dress.

But Mum had jumped to the wrong conclusion, a conclusion that she would refuse to un-jump.

‘I think we need to have a chat, my girl,’ said Mum. ‘But let me get changed first. Wait for me in the living room. I’ll be along shortly.’

Mum seemed to like how I looked in the dress. She even called me my girl. Oh crikey! This was so embarrassing. I had to get out of the dress before things got any worse. Except I couldn’t. The zip was out of my reach.

I went into the living room and flopped on the sofa. Mum arrived a few minutes later.

‘Put your knees together!’ she said.


‘You shouldn’t sit sprawled out like that. It isn’t ladylike.’

‘But I don’t want to be ladylike.’

‘Stand up!’


‘Stand up and let me look at you.’ I stood.

‘Now give me a pirouette.’

‘A piri-what?’

‘Just spin around for me.’ I executed a clumsy pirouette. The skirt flared out as I spun, and then wrapped itself around my legs possessively when I stopped.

‘Mum,’ I said. ‘What’s all this in aid of? You’re being kind of weird.’

‘You look so pretty.’ Her eyes moistened. ‘I’m sorry. I’m just so happy to see you coming out like this.’ Coming out of where? Then she was all business. ‘But I want to know where you got that dress!’

‘I ... uh ... sort of borrowed it ... from a clothesline.’

‘You what?’

‘I ... I was naked.’

‘Naked? What happened to your clothes? Oh my goodness William. Explain!’

I told her the whole story then, or as much of it as she needed to know.

She stared at me as she processed this information. Then she laughed. ‘Oh my dear William,’ she said. ‘You got yourself into quite a pickle, didn’t you?’

Mum was taking this much better than I expected. I relaxed.

‘We ought to notify the police,’ said Mum.

‘What? Mum, no! The girls didn’t hurt me. Not much anyway.’

‘They stole your clothes.’

‘And I stole a dress.’

‘Yes, you did. OK, no police, but you are going to return the dress aren’t you?’

‘Of course.’ I was telling the truth. I had already decided to bundle the dress into a plastic bag, toss it back over the fence, and run off before anyone saw me. With any luck, the bag would land on that grumpy cat.

‘Good,’ said Mum. It’s Saturday tomorrow. We’ll take it back after lunch.’

‘We? You don’t need to come with me, Mum.’

‘Of course I do. I need to explain why you chose to take the dress. The people are more likely to accept my explanation than yours.’

‘Don’t you think they’ll believe me?’

‘They might wonder why you chose to steal a dress. There must have been something else you could ...’

‘No, Mum. There wasn’t. Well, there was, but there was this dog ...’

‘William, that’s enough. I’m coming with you and that’s that. Now, I think you had better go and take the dress off. It isn’t yours and we don’t want to get it dirty.’

‘No ... I ... I can’t do that, Mum.’

‘Hmm. Yes, I understand how much you like it, dear, but ... oh well; I suppose you could keep it on until bedtime. I’ll give you a pinny to keep it clean while we have dinner and wash up.’

‘No, Mum. I mean I really can’t take the dress off. I can’t reach the zip. Will you undo me, please?’

‘Oh ... OK. If you are sure ...’

Mum seemed disappointed – even sad. I didn’t like to see my mum sad. She undid the zip for me.

‘Off you go and get changed,’ she said brightly. She hadn’t stayed sad for long. I was glad about that, but I wouldn’t have been if I could have read her mind.

Part 4 – Mrs Wilson

We approached the house from the street rather than the park, but I had no trouble finding it. I followed my mother up the path with the dress draped over my arm.

‘Now then,’ said Mum. ‘Let me do all the talking. Understand?’ I nodded. She pressed the doorbell. I was shaking. I half expected the door to be opened by a grumpy old bat with a green complexion and a wart on her nose. But the lady who answered the door was more like a fairy godmother. Her warm smile relaxed me at once. Everything was going to be OK.

‘Hello,’ said Mum. ‘My name is Peggy and this is my son, William.

We’ve come to ...’

‘I know,’ said the fairy godmother, ‘to return my daughter’s dress.’ She looked down at me with mock severity. ‘You took that from my clothesline, didn’t you?’

‘I ...’

‘I’m afraid so,’ said Mum, cutting off my reply. ‘It’s such a pretty dress. William fell in love with it the moment he saw it. He just couldn’t resist taking it and wearing it home. I’m terrible sorry.’

Mum! What are you doing? You know that’s not true. I stared up at my mother in dismay, but dared not contradict her.

The fairy godmother looked at me with new interest. ‘Is that so?’ she said. ‘You really wore it home?’ She smiled and turned to Mum. ‘Would you like to come in for a cup of tea? My name is Evelyn Wilson.’

No! We would not like to come in. We would like to give you the dress and leave right now.

‘That would be lovely, Evelyn,’ said Mum, ‘Thank you so much.’

Mrs Wilson led us into her comfortable living room. I could tell from the décor that no man lived here. Mrs Wilson explained that her husband had died ten years ago. She had lived here with her daughter, Marilyn, until recently. Then Marilyn went flatting and Mrs Wilson now lived here alone. She was so pleased to see us. I think she was lonely. She bustled off to prepare some afternoon tea.

‘Mum, I ...’


‘But why did you ...’

‘Listen to me. Mrs Wilson is so happy to have visitors. Let’s not spoil it for her shall we?’

‘But she ...’

‘William! Not another word.’ Mum’s vehemence frightened me a little. ‘Now you sit there and don’t speak unless you are spoken to. You mustn’t upset Mrs Wilson. She could still report you to the police, you know.’

‘William,’ called Mrs Wilson from the kitchen. ‘Will you come and give me a hand, dear?’ I went through to the kitchen and helped her carry the tea and cakes into the living room. ‘You really like that dress, don’t you?’ she said.

‘I ...’

‘It does look nice on him,’ said Mum before I could say another word.

‘It was Marilyn’s, but she grew out of it and left it here when she moved out. I gave it a wash before donating it to the Op Shop. It was on the line drying when somebody stole it ...’

I stared at the floor.

‘... but it was no loss. I was giving it away in any case.’ She looked at me. ‘I would have given to you if you had only come in and asked. I think it’s lovely to see a boy embrace his feminine side.’

‘Really?’ said Mum. ‘I am so pleased that you think so. Will you sell the dress to me then?’

Mum! No! What are you doing?

‘No, I won’t do that. I want William to have it – as my gift.’

‘That is so kind of you, Evelyn. William, what do you say to Mrs Wilson?’

You silly old cow. Can’t you see that I don’t want that stupid dress?

‘He’s at a loss for words,’ said Mum when I didn’t answer. ‘But you can see how happy he is. There must be something he can do for you. Mow your lawns, perhaps?

‘Well, there is one thing,’ said Mrs Wilson. ‘I’d love to see how the dress looks on him.’


‘Of course,’ said Mum, giving me her best ‘don’t-you-dare-object’ look. She came over and started to undress me. She hadn’t done that since I was, maybe, five years old. She gathered up the dress and held it over my head. ‘Arms up,’ she commanded.

‘Wait,’ said Mrs Wilson. She bustled off and returned with the petticoat that I had left on the clothesline. ‘This goes with the dress,’ she said.

‘There now,’ said Mum. ‘Didn’t I say that you needed a petticoat under this dress? Why did you leave this lovely underskirt behind?’

‘Because ...’

‘That was a hypothetical question, dear. Do be quiet.’

Mum spread the petticoat out on the floor and bade me step into it. She drew it up to my waist and then fluffed it out with her fingers. ‘Arms up,’ she said. I obeyed. She dropped the dress over my head and zipped it up. I was now wearing girl’s underwear as well as a dress. This was way too much. I could feel my face burning.

‘Look at William,’ said Mrs Wilson, ‘glowing with excitement.’

My eyes moistened with shame. I just couldn’t help it.

‘Now he’s weeping with joy,’ she said. ‘This is so sweet. Such a sensitive boy.’

‘Isn’t he, though?’ said Mum. ‘He ought to have been born a girl.’

‘He looks so much like my Marilyn in that dress,’ said Mrs Wilson. ‘But those shoes don’t look right. Wait a moment.’ She left the room and returned with a pair of pumps and a small box. ‘These were Marilyn’s, she said. ‘They are no use to her now. Let’s see if they fit.’

She bade me sit on the sofa while she slipped the pumps onto my feet. I felt like Cinderella trying on a glass slipper. ‘Perfect,’ said Mrs Wilson. The small box held a necklace, a pair of clip-on earrings, a bracelet and a tube of Marilyn’s lipstick. Mum put these on me while Mrs Wilson bustled off to fetch more makeup. By the time Mum and I left to go home, I had been given a comprehensive makeover. I baulked at having my fingernails painted, but there wasn’t time for that anyway.

Mrs Wilson saw us off. ‘Lovely to see you, Wilma. Please come again.’

‘William,’ I said.


‘You called me Wilma.’

‘Oh yes, silly of me.’

That was so spooky. How could she have known about Wilma?

Part 5 – Wilma

It was late afternoon when we got home. Confident that I couldn’t get out of the dress on my own, Mum left me in the living room while she went into the kitchen to prepare dinner. She had underestimated my resourcefulness. As soon as she left the room, I sneaked off to my bedroom and used a wire coat hanger to reach the zip on the back of the dress. I undressed and tossed Marilyn’s clothes and jewellery into a corner. Then I cleaned the muck off my face with the aid of some cold cream.

Back in my own clothes, I felt much better. I wouldn’t let Mum manipulate me like that again. Not ever!

She called me for dinner. I went through to the dining room, expecting castigation for changing into my own clothes. But there was no castigation. Just disappointed silence. Mum must have understood how I felt. Good. In time, all this would be forgotten.

But I was wrong. Mum had neither understood nor capitulated. She had decided on a different strategy. After dinner, she went through to my bedroom, picked up the clothing and jewellery from the floor and put them in my wardrobe where I would see them every day. She was sure that I would succumb to their temptation sooner or later.

Meanwhile, she and Mrs Wilson became good friends. I declined to go with Mum when she visited Mrs Wilson. I didn’t trust the pair of them when they got together, which they did quite a lot.

Several weeks went by. The dress reminded me constantly of Wilma. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I needed closure. I needed to see her and say goodbye once and for all. There was only one way I could do that. I had to be Wilma again – one more time.

I chose a day when Mum was out in the garden. She looked to be out there for a long time. I closed the door to my room and brought the dress from my wardrobe. I laid it on my bed and went back to fetch the petticoat. Did I really need that? Mum thought I did. I guessed she was right. I stripped down to my Jockey Juniors and struggled into the petticoat and dress. Then I added the jewellery. There was one item left in the jewellery box: Marilyn’s lipstick. I put that on too. This would be the very last time I would see Wilma. I wanted her to look her best.

Finally, I stepped into the pumps that Mrs Wilson gave me. All done. I was now ready to meet Wilma – but my mirror was too small. I couldn’t see much more than her head and shoulders. I needed to see her in Mum’s big mirror. That would be a big risk, but I had to finish this. It was the only way I was going to get Wilma out of my system.

I looked out the window and saw Mum gossiping with a neighbour. She wouldn’t be coming inside any time soon. I nipped along to her bedroom and went inside. There was Wilma in the big mirror. Oh my gosh! She looked stunning. Much better than she had when I first saw her. I didn’t want to leave, but I had to. If Mum came inside now and found me like this, she would never give up her obsessive desire to see me dressed as a girl. But I couldn’t leave Wilma without saying goodbye – forever. I can’t remember giving her a goodbye kiss, but I noticed a smear of lipstick on the mirror. I wiped that off with a tissue from Mum’s dressing table. I hurried from the room ... and ran straight into Mum!

‘Oh, William!’ she cried. ‘I knew it was only a matter of time.’

‘Mum, I ...’

‘Do be quiet you silly boy. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.’ She gave me such a lovely hug. Then she left me and hurried to the telephone. She dialled, waited for an answer, and then...

‘Hello? Evelyn? Oh, my dear. I have the most wonderful news.’

The End

© Copyright 2020 Joe Stuart. All rights reserved.

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