An Old Dress, Thinning at the Elbows (Dream Journal 4/94)


F rom an old trunk--dark green almost black in color, brass rusted, center lock broken, key lost, a label printed in yellow and orange reads Multnomah Trunks for Durability and Beauty--I take a blue velvet dress.
The dress is one I have not worn for a very long time, not since I was thirty-four. Soft blue velvet belted with a narrow skirt. Very old and fragile, worn thin at the elbows: a keepsake from my grandmother.
My mother wore it for her wedding to my father. The dress smells of Evening of Paris. It is too small. Too small to slip over my hips. Too small to cover my breasts. My left breast bulges from the V-neck. I press it tight to my body with both hands, trying to cover it with the soft folds of velvet. I try to pull the dress up, but I am helpless and can't move. The dress will not move up or down.
My breast grows larger and larger. I am afraid the material will rip. Finally, I ease the dress over my head, freeing my body. My right breast is missing, replaced by a long red scar running down from my collar bone and out of sight under my belly.
In panic, I look into a gilt-edged mirror and notice, for the first time, that my eyes are dark blue like my mother's.

Before cleaning the child's wound, I pick up a handful of pea gravel and throw it at the dog.