The Dress – for Rachel, who always makes me feel as if I am wearing the perfect dress.

The dress is perfect, she cannot walk past, cannot ignore it, even though she knows that this is not the right time. Her life is busy, she needs sensible clothes, warm, easy going, low maintenance. The last thing she needs is this frock, but the dress calls to her,
“we can have fun together”
“i’ll make you wittier,smarter”
“hell, girl, i’ll make you feel taller and thinner too”

The dress is, quite simply, just too much.
She fears that it will diminish her, swamp her, be more than she has any right to wear.
But now she knows it exists, she understands that her life will feel an absence if she does not at least try it on.

At first she feel awkward, its as if the dress is wearing her, she stands in the changing room, her arms stiff. She is afraid to look in the mirror, afraid of what the dress will do to her. She looks quickly in the mirror, expecting, maybe even hoping for failure, wants to be able to shake her head, smile and admit that these clothes are not for her.

But, the dress has not lied, she is taller, thinner, smarter.

So, she takes it home, hangs it up oh so carefully and her life feels richer because the dress is in it.

Just knowing it is in her wardrobe makes her happier, she doesn’t even need to wear it for the dress to work its magic.

And when she does wear it, the dress is always right, the sun shines brighter, the coffee tastes better and she is always more than she can be without it.

Sometimes she forgets she owns it, days, weeks, months, even years pass before she re-discovers it.
Her fingers rub against the soft fabric, the wit in its design makes her smile again and when she slips it over her head, it is as if she had worn it only yesterday and she makes a promise to wear it more often even when she knows that such good intent may not be followed through.

Whatever happens to the shape of her, the dress continues to fit, to nurture her. There are times when she feels almost ashamed that despite her cavalier attitude, the dress always keeps its side of the bargain. always makes her taller,thinner, cleverer.

She makes a new promise to the dress, she will take better care of it.
She invests in a good wooden hanger, a lavender bag to hang around its neck. she clears a special place within the wardrobe, makes sure it has enough space, is not crowded by all the sensible, easy wash, no iron garments.

She celebrates its’ place within her life.

About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

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