Part 4 of 4
The bag was full and the blue dress still hung there. Alice dragged the bag out into the main room, propping it up against the couch. Byron howled at her from the bedroom. “I know I forgot something,” she called back to him. She’d taken it off the hanger twice to put it in the bag. All the lingerie Jake had loved her in lined the bag, along with sentimental t-shirts from her teenage years, clothes that would never fit again and her auntie’s hand-me-downs but that blue dress still swayed softly in the closet. She didn’t like anything about it but somehow every time she touched the buttery soft fabric, all the sweet memories came flooding back and she couldn’t come up with a bad one if she tried. She couldn’t remember the times they’d argued or the time he had hit her.
Alice glanced at the clock. She had two hours to find something to wear, put on a face, do her hair, and walk the fifteen minutes to the bistro. She walked back into her room and picked up her blackberry dialing Michelle’s number as she crossed to her closet.
“Hi Girl,” Michelle greeted her, “How’s the date going? Do you need me to rescue you? If you do, say, we’re having a great time.”
“I haven’t left yet. I’m still getting ready.”
“Yeah, I’m having a hard time finding something to wear.”
“It’s just that Bistro on College. Why don’t you just wear jeans and that pretty floral top you bought last month?”
“Could I get you to do me a favour too?”
“I’ve got a bag of clothes here. Could you come and take it for me along with,” she paused and took a deep breath, “along with that blue sundress in my closet?”
Michelle got it. “Sure thing, but only if I can I have first dibs.”
Alice laughed a little awkwardly, “Only if you promise never to let me borrow anything you keep!”
“You’ve still got your key?”
“Wonderful! Thanks so much Mish. You’re the best.”
“No problem. Have a great time, yeah?”
“I will. I’ll call you later and tell you all about it.”
“Speak to you soon chickie.”
Alice threw the blackberry back onto the bed and pulled out the jeans and top Mish had suggested along with a pair of flat brown sandals. As she pulled them on Byron barked happily from behind her. When she turned to look at him, he wagged his tail happily.
“You approve, do you?”
Byron barked again. She bent down to scratch his ears before moving the towels off the vanity stool so she could sit down to do her face.
An hour and a half later, she called goodbye to Byron and slipped out her front door, locking it behind her. She’d run her hand over the blue dress one last time before she’d left, knowing it and all the clouded memories she attached to it would be gone by the time she came home, broken up and dispelled by this new glimmer.
That evening Alice stepped back into her apartment. Byron greeted her as always, wagging his tail and bouncing in front of her nose and licking her face as she unbuckled her sandals. But as she stood, she took in her apartment as if she were seeing it for the first time. The way the ebony grand piano dominated the room, reflecting the moonlight from its shadowy self. The bag in front of the couch was gone. Her blackberry chimed at her as she let herself into her bedroom. It was Will. ‘Can’t wait to see you tomorrow. You looked beautiful today. Sweet dreams.’ danced across the screen. Alice smiled. They were going to meet for coffee at Fagan’s in the morning. As she looked up from the demi-glow of her blackberry’s screen, she saw the empty wooden hanger that only this morning had held the cruellest inmate. Alice squared her shoulders once more and, dropping her shoes and purse on the floor, pulled off her blouse. Taking down the empty wooden hanger, she weaved it through her blouse and placed it back on the rack. It looked better that way.
© Jessica Becking 2010