Posts Tagged dress
Ala didn’t remember washing, throwing wrinkled clothes back into her suitcase, or even locking the front door. She sat on the rubbery blue bus seat and let her head rest of the cold glass window. She was going to Boston and didn’t want to think about what she would do when she arrived.
Danno was quiet that morning, awakening her with nuzzling and then slipping into the shower. He asked nothing about where she was going or when she would be back, which to her meant it did not warrant a discussion, which made her feeling desperate to want to talk about it.
She had not told her parents she was leaving town. Her mother would ask too many questions and would say it looked pathetic that she wander off in a moment’s notice to be with someone she was not seeing anymore. Her father would have no opinion.
What was most alarming was her carelessness toward the house. The garbage had not been taken out. The housekeeper had not come and Ala had not inquired. That could all be dealt with upon her return.
She decided to have a drink in lieu of breakfast. The dining cart was open and serving breakfast burritos with egg whites tucked inside, or cereal. She ordered a Bloody Mary. It came think and lukewarm, tomato juice and vodka with a dash of pepper. She tried to drink it as quickly as possible.
A man wearing a leisure suit took the seat next to hers. She quickly stood and went to find her seat. After reading two pages of mild erotica from a book Gertrude had leant her, she fell asleep.
The sound of luggage being dragged out from the bottom of the bus awoke her. She stumbled out onto the sunlit sidewalk and waiting for her bag to be passed from smudgy hand to smudgy hand before finally reaching hers. She did not look to see if Jase was waiting for her and climbed into the first cab she could find.
The restaurants and parks held no reminiscent feelings for Ala. They pushed into one another as the cab sped past them. She wrestled with her purse to find her comb and compact. She was sweating between her legs and down her back, but did not have time to change clothes. Even though she had not set or confirmed a meeting time with Jase, her instinct was pushing her to arrive as soon as possible.
She threw a balled up twenty-dollar billed toward the front seat and ran around to the trunk to pull her suitcase out. The ivy on the side of the building had some new growth and the block smelled with damp grass, as it always had. She opened the heavy glass front door and opened the mailbox that had always had the defective lock to find the extra key Jase kept inside. She let herself inside and hobbled up the three flights of stairs with her bags.
The door to the apartment was open. She smelled dust and saw that the floors hadn’t been cleaned in awhile. No one was there. He wouldn’t have gone into work if he knew was coming, but she couldn’t remember whether she had said she would come for sure or not.
She took off her clothes and found a dress to step into. The weariness of the bus ride without fresh air hit her and she crawled into the bed she had spent two years sleeping in. The sheets felt rougher but otherwise the room looked the same. They had never put a lot of thought into what the space looked like. They didn’t entertain because they preferred being at home alone either locked in the bedroom or reading in the sunroom.
She buried her head under his pillow. The smell of his face was there and it sent cold prickles up her back, but she did not cry. She closed her eyes and thought of coming home to Danno.
What must have been a few hours later, she heard the door open, but was so relaxed she could not force her body to get up. The footsteps were steady until they reached what must have been where she put her suitcase, and then they increased rapidly until Jase was in the bedroom and taking off his shoes.
She turned over just as he climbed into bed next to her. He put his hand up the front of her dress and began pulling down her panties. Her mind was three steps behind and trying to register. She turned to face him and he kissed her very hard on the mouth. His arm wrapped around her and brought her on top of him. He pulled her dress down and began touching her. She could feel him beneath her and put both of her hands against his chest.
“Jase.” He didn’t say anything, but unzipped his pants and turned her so he was on top. She closed her eyes. She did not want this to stop. She had dreamt of this moment when he would realize that he was wrong and had made a mistake. She thought of Danno and the immediate cosmic ease she had felt. “Enough,” she said, rolling out from under him.
She stood and put her dress on, then looked down to find him red-faced and crying with one hand covering his face.
“I’m sorry, Ala. I can’t believe I just did that.”
She sat on the bed next to him and took his hand.
“Where is your mother?”
“At the hospital.”
“I think we should go.”
The bed was empty and the wrinkled sheets were spread over it to look as neat as possible. Nausea nearly took her breath, as she thought he might have left. She hurried down the stairs; grabbing one of the maxi dresses that had fallen out of her suitcase the day before. She stepped into it while running through the kitchen.
Outside, he was standing over the pool’s edge, in a terry cloth robe, fishing out the last of their clothes. Some pieces were already laid out on the lawn chairs, drying in the sun.
Her heart slowed. She looked up and smiled, thanking whomever, that he had not gone. She walked back inside the house and opened up the refrigerator to find juice and bread. There was orange juice, but no sliced bread, so she cut part of the baguette she found on the counter and crammed the pieces into the slots of the toaster. She turned the small radio on and flipped to a jazz channel she had always listened to while visiting her grandma.
Yesterday morning she had no job or lover. This morning she had both. She had been airlifted into a new life. Like a fugitive or a witness who needed protection, she was given a new “ordinary” to step into. It was so easy and she was ashamed she hadn’t just done it sooner.
Her mother came outside dressed in a cerulean sundress. Her white blond hair was in a French twist and she looked ten years younger with her eyes lined in silver.
“How is Gertrude?”
“She fine. She has a boyfriend.”
“Oh, that’s nice. What does he do?”
“I really don’t know,” Ala lied.
“All right. Well, dad and I are going out. I’ll see you later.”
Her mother looked at her for an extra second, and then stepped back inside, sliding the door closed behind her. A veil of depression swept over Ala as she thought of how her parents were going out while she was hanging upside down on this swing, wasting the best years of her life.
She stood up and stretched, then looked at her watch. 9:15pm. The library would be open for another hour. She got her backpack from her room and locked the front door behind her. The sun was setting as she walked down the rolling hill to the library, remembering that she would have to do her research there because since her wallet was missing, she wouldn’t have her library card available to check out books.
Bizarre was an understatement. She heard her cell phone ringing and dashed quickly up the stairs; careful not to drop the tiny towel she had wrapped herself in. The number was unrecognizable but at this point in her life, it could’ve been a number of prospects: unfinished business is Boston, a recruiter, anyone. She answered and a stuffy woman on the other end spoke up.
“Yes, is this Ala Hutchins?”
“We have your wallet.”
She quickly glanced down at the bed and realized her wallet was missing from the collection of junk she kept in her purse.
“Who is this?”
“Arlene. I work at Pilkington.”
“The racetrack? What is my wallet doing there?”
“Beat’s me. Anyway, we got it and if you want it, you should come right away.”
“Of course I want it,” she said, trying to not sound condescending.
“Main office.” A click followed.
Arlene was gone. Ala was naked and her parents were missing. She flipped her head upside down and pulled all of her hair toward her, making a tight knot and securing it the top of her head with a tortoise shell clip her friend Vivian had given her.
She pushed open the door to her too full closet and pulled out a sleeveless wrap dress with an origami-like pattern on it in different shades of blue. Makeup would have to be done in the car. She pulled some gray ballet flats out of the closet and shoved them on while rushing down the steps.
She stopped to write a note to her parents and realized it didn’t matter because they wouldn’t had known if she had come home last night anyway.
Traffic was horrible and the air conditioner in her car managed to blow hot air for three seconds at a time before turning off. She had forgotten that she looked as if she had been mangled by a black bear the night before, and applying makeup in the car wasn’t as easy as it normally was with her flawless skin. The heat made the concealer cake up on the scrapes and they turned into tiny scabby brown moles. Her mascara was smeared to high heavens and her lips completely over done in the pink lipstick she had chosen.
She parked about two miles away from the track and ran to the front office. It was completely amazing how full a place like this could be during a workweek. Then she remembered that a lot of the workers in town were on strike, most likely depressed , and primed to gamble.