A Yellow Dress and a City Street
May 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
Today I’m wearing a yellow dress with white polka dots. It’s long and flowy and ties tight with sash. My grandmother says it’s charming.
I wear it with my platforms, the ones with the jean fabric and the bow.
It’s amazing, the power of a dress.
Today I walk downtown. I pop into vintage stores and candy stores and funny stores filled with the joke gifts I used to give everyone, until it became clear I was the only one who found them funny.
And when I walk into these stores, I smile at the people. At the candy store, two young girls are fooling around behind the counter. Giggling behind rows of chocolate and bags of multicolored jelly beans. They laugh and throw their heads back and flash quick smiles at me as I walk through the door. In my yellow dress. They quickly return to their conversation, which consists mainly of giggles followed by more giggles. I don’t mind.
At a bookstore, I buy a Brave New World. One of those important books you figure you should read before you die. One that could change your outlook, save your life, be a good dinner conversation. I scan each aisle carefully before making my selection, listening to the way my jean platforms creak on the old wooden floorboards. I like the creak. It says, I’m here. I creak as I head up to the register, book in hand, smile on face, yellow dress on nineteen-year-old body. And the cashier boy is cute. Not a face I’ll remember, but cute. His eyes flash to the dress, but then quickly move to the book. It’s great, he tells me. Have I read it? No? I’ll love it. If I like it, I should check out this other one. He read it first when he was sixteen, and then again a couple years ago. I smile and laugh and it’s funny, I can almost see my eyes sparkling. Because I feel like that girl today: the girl with the genuine smile and the twinkling eyes and the yellow dress with white polka dots.
A man is sitting outside the vintage store. At first I think he is like many who populate the downtown’s sidewalks…the homeless, the wandering. But when I walk in he gets up and follows me in and wishes me good afternoon. The yellow dress is promising to him. A girl who wears such a daring dress must surely be interested in some risky pieces, some fashion dares. He disappears through a narrow staircase leading to some sort of basement, I assume, and when he returns a very alternative sort of music starts to play. It’s all just sounds, really, like marbles spilling to a floor and someone clicking their tongue. I sort of enjoy it as I mosey around, grabbing at enormous overalls and outrageous pink sequined pantsuits. I stay longer than needed because I feel something for the man behind the counter. He’s turned on his music for me. He’s standing patiently behind his counter of antique watches and purses with worn straps, watching me swish around in my yellow dress, looking at these clothes he’s collected, taken care of, watched over. I smile and say thanks as I leave, and he actually looks taken aback. Really, truly, surprised. You’re welcome, he says to me, and he manages a crooked, yellowed smile. A real, true smile. Have a good day.
The woman at the costume store is closing up, but she allows me to look at her fabulously seductive and wonderfully crafted mermaid costumes. When I leave, she tells me how pretty I look. “What a dress,” she says.
And as the city lights dim and I walk back through town, past two girls singing while playing ukulele, and a couple listening to a man on guitar, and a boy whose eyes fix themselves on me, I breathe in my yellow dress with white polka dots. And it’s just a dress, but it’s lighting up the night. The city lights are low and even the sounds of the city only rustle tonight, but the dress is loud and clear. The people look when I pass. I am a girl in a yellow dress.
And if it lights up my soul, and a few other souls lining this street on this day, this one day, can it really be a just a yellow dress with white polka dots and a sash?