The Dress

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A middle-aged woman pulls out her old wedding dress.

Submitted: January 02, 2014

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Submitted: January 02, 2014

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My fingers disappear as I reach into the back of my closet, searching blindly for the feel of the right piece of fabric. I try to focus, breathe. I can smell the dust before I even pull it out. My fingers grasp onto the plastic and I listen as it crinkles, as if sighing while it wakes from a dream. 

I am careful not to tug on it; I don't want the fabric, or even the plastic, to rip. Gently, I lift the hanger off the rack and pull it close to me. 

It's not as white as I remember it. Then again, it's been in that closet for almost fifteen years now. I feel myself flush and the brain picks through the memories to find just the right ones. 

I sit down on my bed and lay the dress down gently across the comforter. Pulling my hands away to place them in my lap, I look at the floor. My nerves are a bundled mess, for no reason, really. I feel like I'm meeting an old lover for a rendevu. It's been so long since we've seen each other, I find myself nervous as to how it will see me in return, if I look older. If I look happy. 

But then again, it's just a dress. It doesn't feel anything towards me at all. 

I swallow the lump in my throat and stare it down. What was the point of pulling it out? After all these years, I doubt it would even fit anymore. One kid and 15 Thanksgiving dinners later, I'm certainly not as fit as I used to be. Still, I find myself tugging at my shirt, my pants, until I stand there in nothing but underwear. I pick at the plastic for a moment, blow away the dust and cough. The light from the window tries to catch on the beading, but the curtains shelter everything inside the room. For that, I am thankful. I don't want to see it in full daylight.

My fingers start to shake as I undo the buttons in the back. Will it make me feel like I used to about him when I put it on? Will it bring all of that back?

It smells like old books. That's the only way I can think to describe it. Goosebumps scatter across my skin as a draft comes through the room. I look down at my crumpled clothes on the floor and take a deep breath. Another. 

I step into the dress. The tulle feels rough against my toes. Slowly, I let the fabric inch up my skin. I hold my breath when I reach my hips, tugging upwards. I can't rip it.  I pull it a few more times, trying to decide if it's going to make it or if it'll tear if I do. Finally, I decide that as long as I suck in my gut, it'll go. 

And suddenly I am wearing my wedding dress. And I can remember everything, but yet...The feelings are still gone. I still don't love him anymore. The dress is just a dress. 

Yet still, I wait silently for something to come rushing into me, to become possessed by some kind of old spirit of mine. Something I used to have.

Nothing.

I let the dress drop. It pools at my feet in a heated mess and I can feel the tears coming before I even pull on my jeans. I rush to finish dressing, knowing I'm going to be a wreck in about three seconds. 

Then I am. I am staring. Staring at my wedding dress on the floor that I promised forever in. Staring at my wedding dress on the floor that looks so withered now, so old and scarred. It looks pathetic. 

I catch my face in the mirror. Oh, how I have aged. 37 now and there are wrinkles forming on my forehead. I have laugh lines, too. We used to laugh so hard together. 

When did it stop? Why is it gone? When did we decide it wasn't worth trying anymore? 

Is that even a decision you can make? Or is it a matter of the heart?

When the tears stop and I can breathe again, I grab a fistful of dress and quickly shove it onto the hanger, forcing it to fall back asleep in its hiding place in the closet. I stand, brush my hands on my jeans, and tuck a loose strand of hair behind my ear. 

I hear my daughter calling. So I go.


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