That Pink Dress
He didn’t know what it was called, but the dress was a short one, with flared ends. It was pink, with white flowers on it, flowers that draped around the torso and spiraled up like a garland around her neck. It was beautiful, she was beautiful. And that was his last memory of hers. As she had traipsed around in her new dress, giggling and laughing as she made him click pictures of her. Don’t I look pretty? She posed with her dress and smiled, waiting for his compliments. He put his camera away, no, not really. He face dropped. You look beautiful, just like an angel. She laughed nervously and punched him as he hugged her, you’re an idiot.
An idiot he was. For letting her go. For letting her walk out of the door that day. He shouldn’t have. But he didn’t know. How would he have known it would be the last time? The last time he would ever see her. Stop making lame excuses, it was your fault. It was all your fault. Had you never let her go she would still be alive. She would still be prancing around the living room in her pretty pink dress.
The woman looked at him uneasily, averting her glanced as she adjusted her scarf and pulled down her dress. He realized he had been staring and he looked away apologetically. It was just that he had seen that dress after so many days, and he couldn’t stop thinking of the last time he had seen it, on his wife. It’s a girls’ night out, she had told him. You cannot tag along just because you have nothing to do, she had pushed him back inside the door as he insisted. He watched the trail of her flared dress disappear with the fading click of her heels. He went back to his TV show, she needed her time away. After all, she was a free spirited woman and she loved her independence. And what better than a night of indulgence with her college mates. They were spirit sisters. And they mourned her spirit in pretty pink dresses, because she hadn’t want a shred of black on her funeral.
He left the coffee shop as the woman in that dress was about to take her order. He couldn’t stop thinking about her now. It was so sudden, it was so absolute. She had never reached her friends in the club that night, they called her and she didn’t answer. They were too inebriated to care. He worried when she didn’t call all night, or bang the door drunkenly in the morning. He panicked when dawn cracked in the sky and he still hadn’t heard a word from her. And that was it. He never heard a word from her again. Her car was found abandoned on the road, it was broken down. Her bag was still in the car but there was nothing else, no trace, no DNA, no prints. There were drops of blood on the punctured tire, and her fingerprints, evident that she was checking it when she was attacked. Nobody had seen anything. Somebody was lying, he had accused, but it was the truth. Nobody knew what had happened to her. She had disappeared.
It was just over two years now, two years three weeks and two days. Seven hundred and fifty miserable days of wondering if she was even alive. The police presumed she wasn’t, as was in the several cases of women that had disappeared. He feverishly prayed to god, to every god created by man, he prayed they would find something out. But they never did. Every time the phone rang he thought it was someone with some news. But they were just apologizing, sorry about what had happened. They hoped they could find her, she was in their prayers. And the phone calls lessened over days, turning into the odd call from work he would get. How could he get back to normal when there was this gaping hole in his life, a hole that was slowly draining everything that his life had once contained? It could be plugged one single call, one single news, or one confirmation that she was dead. Because the hope that she was still alive somewhere, praying that he would come help her, it gnawed at him. This feeble, desperate hope was stringing him along, giving him no room to breathe for himself. Why? He asks the universe, every single day. Why is there no justice for me?
It had been quite a harrowing day. It was all because of that dress. First that man in the coffee shop wouldn’t stop staring at her. And then all her classmates made fun of it. I should never have bought it just because it was cheap, she scolded herself. Oh, but the rest of the day wasn’t so bad. When she went out with her friends to dinner. They offered to drop her off at her hostel but it was getting late for them too, so she took a cab. And now the cab broke down. But it was just two blocks away from where she lived, so she got out and started walking hurriedly. The flares of her dress rustled with the breeze.
She didn’t hear a thing, she was lost in her thoughts, turning the events of the day in her head over and over again. A sharp pinch on the back of her neck is all she felt. And then her eyes rolled out into darkness.
This one was a young one, he thought as he hauled the girl onto the table. He carefully unzipped the dress, he didn’t want to crumple his trophy. It was so bright, the colors were garish, he thought as he stripped it off. He had seen it somewhere, in a dark alley, a woman bent over her punctured car… he laughed out loud. He walked over to the closet and opened it. On his stick of glory, hung the exact same dress, displayed with dozens of others. This one was a little smaller but the same thing. He laughed again, what a funny coincidence.
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