Those days the dress didn’t cling. It hung loose across my breasts and thighs and fell into a clean straight line at my calves. Mother of pearl buttons held the dress together down the front and spaghetti straps held it in place on my shoulders. My summer dress, equal parts sand and Atlantic. In it, I was fluid and musical, a flagpole, and the dress, cotton and thread yielding to the wind. A Miami breeze could make it sway and that summer, my lover’s gentle touch could make it fall away.
Years later the straps wore down and the dress frayed. Its buttons peeled and the fabric stretched and pulled at its seams. Snug and dull, it stretched across my breasts and pulled at my thighs. It no longer flattered me. Abandoned, it stayed in my closet.
The day I took the art off the walls and packed the music away, I threw away the dress. I cut my soul into perfect squares and placed its jagged tender pieces into small boxes and packed it away: the music, the rhymes and the art.
I’ve since owned several dresses. Scarlett gowns with plunging necklines and slits that graze my thighs, and later, austere gowns of navy blue and cinched waistlines. Those dresses, though, required industry: hair, mascara, perfume.
I watch my daughters preen before their bedroom mirror in their new summer dresses. I recall the ease and the fit, the sway and the unpreoccupied ways, and I recall.