• Keri Heath

Dresses

Every so often, she'd get a new dress.

Sometimes they had flowers or patterns of cats on them. Other times, they'd be polka dot or striped. There were dresses with big, flow-y sleeves or with thin straps and ones that billowed in the wind and some that were just a little too tight.

Usually, there was a reason behind the dresses.

She got the bright red one after she'd just gotten promoted. She wore it with heals and when she walked down the streets, she thought people nodded at her. Well, there goes a girl who's going places. She could power walk in that dress without worrying about it getting caught between her legs or of a sudden wind blowing it up.

The pale blue dress she bought in winter, when she everyone was planning Christmas parties and she realized she wasn't getting invited to any. It was a modest dress with a high neckline and a forgettable cut. It was warm. It was comfortable. And she could vanish in a crowd while wearing it. Did you see the girl with the blue dress on? Which blue dress? Exactly.

She came alive again in springtime when blossoms bloomed on the trees and the nice guy her coworker introduced her to started smiling at her. She bought a green dress that billowed when she twirled. She liked to imagine herself running through a field in the dress, the sun streaming everywhere, the wind blowing through her hair. She liked to wear the dress on weekends, when she'd meet the guy for lunch or drinks and they'd talk about books and she'd laugh a lot.

She got the pink dress because it was comfortable. She wore it often, so much that sometimes she thought her coworkers would notice how often she wore it. Almost all her shoes went with it, so she didn't have to think about it. She could wear it to work, change her shoes and wear it to happy hour with her girlfriends. She spilled frozen daiquiri on it one night and it never quite came out.

By the time she got the dress with the birds, her job was different. She still had most of those friends, but not all. He was gone, too, and she'd gotten a new apartment, new roommate. Many new dresses.

She first put it on late one night, with the tags still on. Looking at herself in the mirror, she smoothed out the fabric. It looked good on her. Most of the dresses had. For a long moment, she closed her eyes. And when she opened them, the birds on her dress had started flapping their wings. Soon, the birds raised a wind in the room. She walked over to the open window, swung her legs over the sill. And in a moment, she'd taken flight, high over the city, away.

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