Hidden away out of sight and out of mind. That’d been the plan. If it hadn’t been for the year-old layering of dust and cat hair beneath my bed aggravating my allergies, I wouldn’t have been forced to set my eyes on it again.“I don’t know why you keep it,” my mom says, hands pressed against her soft midsection. She shakes her head of silver hair, staring at the dress.I didn’t know why I hadn’t trashed it, sold it or burned it by now. Perhaps it was the year’s savings I’d spent to purchase it that gave it some monetary value. Or, the fact that it had been tailored for my sickly-thin shape, making it near-impossible to find a buyer who fit.“That thing is just a bad omen,” my mom says, touching the gossamer hem. I reach out, my hand hovering over the ivory lace detail—desperate to feel, not only the stitches and intricate beading but to feel more than the pain of my broken heart.I can’t ignore the stinging in my eyes. At first, I think my contacts are getting dry, but then I sniffle and know I’m about to cry. The aching gash to my heart is splitting open. I’d thought myself past this—out of sight and out of mind. Who am I kidding? The wound is agape, the stitches undone. My hand has found my chest and is wrenching my blouse in a clenched fistas if to stop my bleeding.“Oh, honey.” My mom sighs, pushing past the vacuum to pull my lanky form into her well-intending embrace. But, I pull back. I don’t want to be comforted when I should, instead, be punished.“It was my fault,” I whisper between my mucous-lodged sniffling.“That’s not true. You did nothing wrong. Jens was the one who left you. Not the other way around. He broke your heart. You’re the victim here.” She squeezes my shoulder, her grip faltering as it contacts bone. “So thin.” She mutters, a tear rolling down her wrinkled cheek.
“He’d shown plenty of signs. I was just too full of myself to notice how far I’d pushed him away. The disease was getting worse and I was getting skinnier. He hated me for it. That’s why he left me. He ran off with Erika because she’s curvy and athletic, and isn’t terrified of food…I’m pathetic. If I didn’t have this disgusting disorder…” I fling my arm in an exaggerated swoop in front of me. “I could have been beautiful like Erika and he wouldn’t have left me a skeleton bride at the altar. So yes, Mom, I have only my anorexic self to blame!”The tears have dried and I’m staring at the wedding dress pulled out from its resting place under my bed. No longer hidden or forced from my mind, I take in its every detail. Unwanted memories flood through me with their venom, causing me to twitch.“It’s time for me to move on.” I bunch the dress in a heap, disturbing the mildew and dust, and spurring a fit of sneezing. I hurry, grabbing a lighter and a small bottle of perfume.“What are you doing?” My mom wheezes as she follows me to the backyard.“Something I should have done long ago.” I smash the bottle of perfume and light the fabric. The fire catches with a whooshing sound, its ravenous appetite erupting and then settling down to consume my wedding dress with slower enjoyment. Envy fills my empty stomach, craving the same fiery power and vitality of the flames. The fire consumes the bitterness and the blame.“I’m so hungry,” I say, the heat warming my skin, obliterating my defenses. Hidden—no—I’ll hide no more.
VanessaMarieCaron is a young stay-at-home-mother of four and an emerging author. She is a passionate individual, consistently striving to emulate emotionally character-led novels and short stories alike. When not writing, Vanessa bounces between being a contemplative in nature, an eccentric fitness junkie and an avid horse lover.