Soft and smooth, her dress ran like oil between my fingers. The silky material, dimmer than it once was, was wrinkled and stained from so many happy years together. I don’t know why I brought it with me today, the only color in a room full of black. The stale smelling roses couldn’t compete with the red of this dress. It even still smelled like her, even though it had been washed several times since she last wore it. I had so many sweet memories of her in this little red number; I couldn’t help but think of them now as I look at what she has become.
She had worn it on our first date. That was my first memory of the dress and her. We had gone to Charlie’s, the long-since-closed dinner and dance bar. Ten years later and I still remember the way the silk had shone in the dim dance floor lights. Her long, brown hair had swirled around us as we spun across the floor, the eye of a tornado of love and happiness.
After that, it was my favorite dress, so she wore it more and more often.
She had worn it to our rehearsal dinner, where she glowed with pride surrounded by our family and friends. Her belly had just started to show by then, so the dress hugged her slender frame a little more tightly.
After our twins were born, the next time she was able to wear it was to our five year anniversary dinner. Even after two children, she had looked just as beautiful as she had at Charlie’s. That night she had dropped spaghetti down the front, a stain that never fully came out.
She wore it to my sister’s wedding three years ago. As beautiful as my sister looked, she couldn’t even compare to the stunning radiance of my wife.
For our daughter’s first dance recital, she wore the dress again.
She wore it again three days after my son broke his leg and needed to be carried everywhere for a week. The sight of her holding my son in that dress still haunts me.
But I wasn’t the only one she wore the dress for.
She wore it when she went out with her co-workers for girl’s night.
She was wearing it the night she met Mike.
It was that dress that was on the floor when I came home early from work one day.
That was the dress she hurriedly threw on after she kicked Mike out, and was still wearing it when she met me in the kitchen.
The good news was, the dress was red so you couldn’t really see the growing stain. It looked like it was just getting wet, spreading down from her chest to her belly. It started to leak to the floor, our kitchen floor. As I stood next to her, in the kitchen we built together, I looked at the odd angle of the knife. It was the knife she had given me for Christmas last year.
But I couldn’t tarnish the memory of the dress. I took it from her, so the stain wouldn’t set in. Now she was wearing a different kind of red dress; the one that was leaking from her chest and stained my hand. Her dress now pooled on my kitchen floor.