2.24.2015 Journal Prompt

February 24, 2015: In their pretty dresses…

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One thought on “2.24.2015 Journal Prompt

  1. Most days it rains, or the wind blows grey, or the sky glowers. And the red brick of the houses is nearer to black and the black of the road is smeared and the people look tired. All about me they look tired, their shoulders hunched as though they bear the weight of the world, like that man called Atlas and he is bent in two with what he carries on his back, and that’s like almost every grown man I know.

    Boys are different, boys that think they are already men, but they are just boys. And they stand tall enough and they lean against the red brick and they blow smoke rings into the air and they look at the girls passing thinking they have the right to undress us with their eyes. There’s no weight on their shoulders, not yet.

    But even with those boys looking at me and calling after me and saying as how I am pretty as peaches or pears or plums, even then I feel the world is painted dull and painted flat. And so I look to the other worlds caught and pressed between the butterfly pages of magazines. And in those other worlds the sky is so blue it hurts and the men so straight and so fine and the girls so beautiful and so perfect.

    I show Shirley the magazine pictures and I show April the same, and together we coo like doves over the clothes the girls wear and we make believe it is possible for us to step into their shoes – such beautiful shoes and the girls in the magazines don’t ever show that those shoes are sore to walk in.

    And there’s a shop on the high street that we visit sometimes, me and Shirley and April, and it smells like mothballs and flowers in there, and it smells like the pages of new issued magazines if you hold your face close to the paper and breathe in. And the shop I am talking about sells only one kind of dress, and it sells wedding dresses.

    The woman there has a face sour as lemons and fierce as a bull-terrier when it’s ire is up, but she tries to hide it under a smile, and she knows us and I think she rolls her eyes a little whenever we enter. She knows what we are about, but she holds a faint hope that one day it might be different and maybe it will be this day.

    We take turns in trying on the new dresses, white as clouds or the bitten insides of meringues. And we fuss over the pretty we look in the mirror. And Shirley strokes my cheek with a white-gloved hand and April touches the bodice of the dress with the feathery tips of her fingers, and we kiss and cry and laugh all at the same time. And just for a moment, a moment so sharp I afterwards ache for the losing of it, just then in that perfect wedding dress moment, it feels like the world is full of possibility, like the world can be light and airy and the sky can be perfectly blue.

    Outside again, I button up my coat against the day, and I duck against the punch of wind and the slap of rain. and across the road a boy called Marty wolf-whistles and makes the shape of blown kisses with his thick lips, and he is cocksure because he is a boy. And under my breath I call him a fool. Shirley takes my hand in hers and April takes my other hand and we run the length of the grey smeared street to a coffee bar that promises more than it ever delivers.

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