I lost this story while I was moving to a new website. thank goodness for cache! I was so happy to find it. It was a kind of series I was working on – see the first here. Ideas are welcome guys- challenge me, inspire me or just write about a dress in whatever size.
It had been a while since she let herself dance to the rhythm of love. It felt strange, like an out of body experience, one she wanted to last for much longer than it did.
When it was over; the undressing, the getting to know one another’s’ body, the climaxes, the sudden rush of love pumping through their hearts; when all of it was over, fear crept in and she got out of bed to seek safety in the clothes that lay jumbled on the floor.
“Don’t go.” He said.
“My kids; they will be worried and will fuss if I don’t get back soon.” She replied. She wondered if he had noticed her fake tooth while they kissed. She wondered too if her breath had been alright. It was too late to worry now, her head mocked her and she sighed out loud.
“Come back to bed. I will drop you home in an hour. It isn’t even that late yet.”
“I need to get some clothes on.” She replied
“Why? You are beautiful naked.”
She laughed then and the room took on her happiness and seemed a little brighter.
“Thank you. You are a good liar.” She said after she was done laughing.
“I wasn’t lying. Or trying to flatter you. I find your body beautiful.” He said simply in that way that she had come to love.
There was a finality in his voice that almost made her cry. She found her bra and put it on. The rest of her underwear was probably lost forever. She straightened out the wrinkles in her dress, grateful it was lacy and did not rumple easily. It had been a Mother’s Day gift from her daughter, Tumininu.
Tuminimu, who never came home, not for holidays, not for her siblings’ weddings, not for memorials, not for naming ceremonies; and no matter how much her mother pleaded with her. Tumininu, the only one of her children who had always made it plain that she had preferred Bolaji, her late husband to her. Tumininu, her only daughter who lived in London and drew paintings that people paid hundreds of thousands for; paintings that no matter how hard she tried, she never seemed to understand.
It had been a pleasant surprise when the dress had come in the mail. Tumininu’s gifts to her mother were usually some framed paintings or some kind of art work she had done herself. The dress was orange and a little above her knee. Her daughter-in-law, the one she lived with, along with her son and her granddaughter, Aida, had called it the ‘How Grandma got her groove back’ dress. She had laughed and waited for everyone to fall asleep before trying it on.
She couldn’t remember the last time she went shopping for a dress or shoes or anything of such. She was content with the Ankara outfits her tailor churned out and the clothes her daughter-in-law bought when her boutique business took her to the US. Her daughter-in-law also took care of the shoes bit, buying her mostly flats. She wore them gratefully and contentedly. She had stopped caring much about what she wore since Bolaji passed away. There was no one to dress up for anyway.
Tumininu’s orange dress was a size 8 and had fitted her perfectly the first time she tried it on. She had cried silently in the privacy of her bedroom so as not to wake Aida in the next bedroom as she missed the daughter that was never really hers.
It had fitted her again perfectly when she put it on a few hours ago for her tenth, or was it eleventh date with the man lying in bed, watching her every move now. Now though, the dress felt tighter than a corset and she wondered if it had anything to do with the Thai food they had for dinner or whether guilt had a way of making one’s body feel bloated.
She reached for her purse and knew then that she must never try to see this man again. Even though he made her heart beat a rhythm she had thought was forever silenced when Bolaji died. Even though he made her laugh harder than her grandchildren and their antics. Even though she now woke up in the mornings, happier than she had been in a long time. She had even sung in the shower the other day and Aida had asked if Grandma was feeling okay.
To see the man again would mean that Tumininu would be forever lost to her. There was no question in her mind as to how her daughter would react to a man in her life. The daughter who had barely tolerated her when Bolaji was alive would alienate her for sure if she found out about the man. And God only knew how her other children would react to a new man in her life. Besides she was a mother and a grandmother; these were the roles she had been designated with, blessed with even. These were the outfits that fitted her perfectly. Wasn’t life full enough without her adding the role of lover to it?
She reached for the man on the bed to kiss him goodbye. She would walk out of here and never again pick his calls or reply his messages. She would avoid the places they had been together. She would try not to think of him or his smile or how good it felt when he kissed her for the first time; of how it felt like a resurrection, like she had been dead a long while and he had come to awaken her… just like the Sleeping Beauty story she and Aida were currently reading.
“I love you.” he whispered as she came close.
Her eyes locked onto his eyes and all she could see was possibilities. She could hear his heart beat and knew it was the same rhythm hers played.
Eight years, she had mourned and been a dutiful mother and grandmother. Eight years, she had lived out the roles her children and society had chosen for her. Eight years of letting everyone else do her shopping and determine the order of her life. Surely eight years was enough.
The orange dress had come with a note:
“Happy Mother’s Day. I and Neil are having a little girl this winter. I hope she will be a better daughter to me than I am to you. Dad once told me orange was your favorite color. I love you.”
She thought of the note now and smiled at the man. He smiled back and she reached for her phone.
“I won’t be coming home tonight. Don’t wait up and tell Aida, we can finish Sleeping Beauty tomorrow. Love, Mom.”
It was time she started doing her own shopping, she thought as she took the dress off. Blue was her favorite color anyway.
Song of the day: Howie Day – Collide (which is an amazingly beautiful song by the way)