Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Purple (11/05/09)
TITLE: Fine is Fine But Wonderful is Better
By Marita Vandertogt
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Sasha stared in the store window like she did every afternoon on her way home from work. The dress on the mannequin draped over her shoulders like a regal robe of purple. Sasha’s eyes caressed the soft folds of the material until she could feel it clinging to her own thin body. She knew the deep purple would make the white of her skin stand out like an alabaster statue, regal. She knew he would really notice her then, and if he had any inclination at all to make things permanent, this would probably do it.
She also stared at the price dangling on a square white tag, the numbers too big for her simple budget.
“You still looking at that thing?” Myra poked her in the side, a jeering smile on her face. “You know you can’t afford it. Forget it. We’ll fix up your black dress, same as last year. It’ll be fine.”
Fine, Sasha thought, thinking back over last year’s event. The black of her dress faded from too many years of wearing. She was always fine. She had no choice but to be fine. Surely there was another way to live, beyond the fine. Surely maybe somehow for her, there could even be really good, maybe even great. Her heart started to beat harder at the thought. There was just enough money in her bank account to cover the cost of the dress. Surely some things were okay to not be practical about. All of a sudden, she was tired of practical. She wanted rich dark purple, even if it was just for a night.
“Okay Myra, I hear you.” Sasha pulled her eyes away from the dress and back to her friend. “We’ll revamp the black. It’ll be fine.” There was that word again.
The evening of the dance came and Sasha was radiant in the deep rich purple. It hung from her shoulders the way it did on the mannequin, only on her the soft folds of material moulded to her body, giving it the statuesque look she knew it would. A string of white pearls that her mother had left her, adorned her neck, matching the pearl drop earrings, enhancing the light ash blonde of her hair. As she came down the stairs, he was waiting for her at the bottom. And there it was. The look. The look she would remember for the rest of her life, well into their married life. She could still feel the strength of his arm around her waist as he ushered her into the car, barely taking his eyes off of her. She did it. She turned fine to great, by emptying the contents of her bank account and plunking it on the counter to buy the purple dress. Money well spent for a memory that would last forever.
It still hangs in her closet today. She never wore it again, not formally anyway. From time to time she would lift it from the hanger and dance around the room with it in front of her, pulled against her aging body. And relive that night, the night his eyes glowed when he looked into hers. The night that he asked her to share their lives together. The small round diamond of the ring was worn now, the shine trying harder to break through. She doesn’t know if the dress was the reason for his proposal on that night, or not. But she liked to dream that it was. After all, emptying a bank account to buy a memory, was money well spent. Especially when it took her from just fine to absolutely wonderful.
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