Tonight’s Flash Fiction story–90 minutes from the reveal of the theme word(s) to posting. I liked this one but it got mixed reviews, especially the ending. Oh well, can’t please everyone.
My wedding was in a month and I still hadn’t found the perfect dress. Now I don’t like to say I’m picky but in this case I definitely was. I went to bridal shop after bridal shop. I read through all the latest Bridal magazines. I even looked at the pattern books but nothing spoke to me. And now time was running out.
“Samantha, just go with that first one you tried on at Lyle’s Bridal Boutique in Houston,” begged my mother, clearly exasperated that her youngest of four daughters was being so difficult. “It looked gorgeous on you.”
“It was an insipid choice with all those God awful ruffles. I can’t believe that out of all the dresses I tried on, that’s the one you would suggest that I settle on. Besides, it made me look like the bride of Frankenstein.”
“Well what about that ivory one at Julian Formalwear?” she suggested not so helpfully.
“Ugh, even worse!”
“I really don’t know what to say here, Samantha. You’re running out of time. At the rate you’re going, the only thing you’ll be able to get will be something off the rack or from a second-hand store.”
“You know that’s not a bad idea,” I said, with the first bit of enthusiasm I’d felt since I got engaged.
“What? Off the rack? Please no, not yet, Sam. You still have some time, just not very much.”
My mother’s face bore the lines of worry initiated when I’d turned thirty and still didn’t have a “beau” as she called it. They grew a little deeper each year until at the ripe old age of thirty-two, I found the man of my dreams, Sheldon. Oh I know she and everyone else was probably thinking, “Sheldon? How could any man named Sheldon be the man of Samantha’s dreams?” I’m sure that they thought I was settling then, that my biological clock had made me relax my standards. But they were so very wrong then and they were wrong about the wedding dress too. I knew it was out there and that I’d find it.
“I’m going to that little second hand consignment store on the corner called ‘Victoria’s Recycled Secret’.
“Oh, good Lord, Sam, you can’t be serious,” scoffed my mother. My sister Tish joined in with her and also pooh-pooh’ed the idea.
Tish said, “Sam, that place smells so musty and bad. The only people who put items in there are people in their seventies or their children getting rid of estate items that no one else wanted.”
“I know and that’s why it’s so perfect,” I exclaimed.
My mother and Tish regarded me and then each other with a not so subtle exchange passing between them.
The next day I went to Victoria’s. The proprietress greeted me warmly at the door.
“Hello Miss. May I help you find something special?”
“Yes ma’am. I need a wedding dress.”
“Oh, yes you do, don’t you? And a very special one too, I’ll bet.” She beamed at me and I felt very much at ease with her. “My name is Samantha,” she said as she beckoned for me to follow her to one of the back rooms.
“My name is Samantha too. How about that for a coincidence?” I said. I knew I had been right to come here.
Samantha walked straight to the most beautiful gown I had ever seen.
“Oh my! Can I try it on?” I asked, giddy with anticipation.
“Of course, dear. The dressing room is back there.”
I slipped it on over my head and Samantha helped me with all the buttons. She stood behind me as I looked at myself in the mirror. I don’t know who had more tears in her eyes, me or her. We both gazed at my reflection and nodded, in perfect synchronization.
“You look breathtaking in this dress,” she gushed and I knew she was sincere and not just angling for a sale.
“I know,” I said, all modesty aside. I had to have it. It was the perfect dress.
As I moved to the cash register to pay for it, I asked, “How much do I owe you?”
“How much do you have in your wallet? I only take cash, you see,” she said.
I panicked. I never carried much cash. This was a credit card world. But I pulled out my wallet and peered inside. To my horror I realized I only had $6.76.
“Uh, could you hold it for me? I only have $6.76 cash.” I almost felt like crying.
“You can take it with you. I’ll sell it to you for $6.76,” she said with a huge smile on her face.
“Are you serious?” I couldn’t believe my good fortune.
“Yes, of course. But I do have one condition,” she said with a twinkle in her eye.
I shuddered wondering what kind of non-monetary condition she would demand. “Okay, what is it?”
“You must place it back on consignment when you become a widow.”
“Deal!” I said and she wrapped it up. I didn’t want to mull over her strange and morbid condition because it seemed so out there.
As I gathered my dress and prepared to leave the shop, I asked her, “Samantha, who’s dress was this?”
“Why mine, my dear and now it’s yours. My Sheldon and I were married for fifty-five years. I know you will be as happy as we were. I just know it.”
I knew it too as I skipped out of the shop with the perfect dress for my perfect day.