The Girl in the New Dress
by Larry Letemplier
Laura gazed longingly at the ocean blue floral
print dress displayed in Tillys Boutique window. Its just perfect, she
She went in the store and strode over to the counter. On a shelf above the cash register a
portable radio played a song that tugged her heart string. When the lady behind the
counter asked Laura if she could help her, she said that she would like to try on the blue
dress in the window. The clerk undressed the mannequin and directed Laura toward a small
room in the far corner.
She removed her blouse and jeans and slipped on the dress. The mirrors around the little
room revealed a slim, curvaceous figure hugged snugly inside the dress. She twirled and
wavy red hair bounced about and blended enchantingly with the ocean blue flow that
"My Blair will just flip when he sees me", she thought. Blue was Blairs
favorite color, and she could hardly wait to see his eyes light up and his wide smile as
he gazed at her in the new dress, the way he had gazed at her on their first date. She
would capture that exhilarated moment and store it in her vault of keepsakes, her heart. A
white toothy smile complemented the sparkle in her eyes. She touched the glinting gold
chain that encircled an exquisite
neck. It was a gift from her Blair.
The dress $38.99 price tag was within her budget, and she did not hesitate to buy
it. In the background the radio poured out bad news: the slasher who had brutally murdered
four young men was still at large; on Lexiton a fire had claimed a family of five; a rabid
German shepherd dog had killed its owner and was still on the loose; the Municipality of
Black Rock announced that a two-percent tax hike will come into effect in the coming
Laura did not let bad news get her down anymore. The world was filled with it, and one
just had to deal with it in her own way.
"If its okay with you," Laura said to the clerk, "I would like to
keep the dress on, as Im going to meet my Blair." Just the utter of his name
caused her heart to flutter.
"Youre the first customer who has ever made that request," the clerk said.
She smiled. "However, it is written all over your face that your Blair is very
special to you. It would be a shame to see that glow leave your face."
Laura imagined that the glow on her face which the clerk referred to must be similar to
the happy little faces on "her children" at Black Rock Elementary, where she
She thanked the clerk and left the boutique carrying her worn clothes in a Tillys
shopping bag. She smiled at passers-by. They smiled back at her. She reached her car, a
blue Neon, and was about to get in when she saw an old lady, limping slowly across the
street toward Tillys parking lot. The street light winked green, and impatient
drivers honked horns and shouted disparaging remarks at her.
Laura threw her shopping bag in the front seat and hurried toward the old lady. "Let
me help you," she said, holding out her arm. The old lady looked up in surprise. She
was maybe in her seventies. Her face was a map of wrinkles, and there were deep pouches
under her eyes. She flashed yellow-stained teeth and held on to Lauras arm. Laura
allowed the lady to lean against her as she helped her across the street.
"Thank you kindly, dear," the old lady said, breathing heavily. "No one has
done a kind deed for me in years." Her voice was a mingle of sadness and regret.
"It was my pleasure," Laura said.
"Oh my!" the old lady exclaimed. "What a lovely dress." Her face
suddenly lit up. "Oh, I recognize that look on your face. Youre in love, and
you deserve to be."
Laura tingled all over. She leaned forward and kissed the old lady on the cheek. "You
have a nice day. Bye."
She turned and went back to the Neon. When she got the car moving, she turned on the
radio. Lonestars "Amazed" drew a joyous squeal from her. "They are
playing our song, Blair," she said out loud, as if he were sitting beside her. She
had her own cassette of Lonestar in the glove box and played "Amazed" every time
she went to meet her Blair. She tingled as she recalled that special night when Blair had
professed his love to her.
A speeding, siren-wailing police cruiser passed her. Maybe the two officers she had
glimpsed in the front seat of the cruiser were dealing with some of the bad news she had
heard on the radio news at Tilleys, she thought.
The sound of "Amazed" faded and another country love song began. Laura braked
the Neonfor a red light. She leaned over and opened the glove box. She picked up
the Lonestar cassette and saw the narrow gold-colored box, the gift box that had contained
the 20 karat gold chain circling her neck. For a moment her smile wavered, and a streak of
loneliness embraced her. Then she glanced down at her new dress and her spirits revved to
gear. She smiled.
She closed the glove box and inserted the cassette into the player. When the street
light flashed green, she started on her way, humming the words to "Amazed"
with Lonestar. In the distance the sun was an orange ball setting below the mountain.
As she drove, her thoughts returned to the old lady she had helped earlier.
"Youre in love, and you deserve to be," she had said. Of course, she did.
It was all she lived for nowadays.
When she reached Calvin Street, dusk had settled on Black Rock. At that moment she saw him
coming out of the store. He closed the door behind him and locked it. She pulled the Neon
into the driveway of Thompsons Electronics.
He was handsome. Blair. Her Blair. He was especially handsome this evening in his gray,
pin-striped suit. He rarely wore suits, mostly at weddings and funerals.
She turned up the stereos volume and "their" song drifted across the
driveway. She opened the glove box and took out the gift box. She liked to carry the box
with her when she went to greet him.
He walked toward his car now.
She got out of the Neon. "Blair!" she called.
He stopped and looked in her direction.
She hurried toward him. "Do you like the dress?" she said. She twirled as if she
modeled for him. "I bought it especially for you."
He looked at her strangely. Where was the sparkle in his eyes and the wide-eyed smile she
expected? He doesnt like the dress, she thought. She couldnt understand. He
liked surprises, and it was a new dress. It was his favorite color.
"Im sorry," he said. "You have mistaken me for someone else."
Her heart sank. Her lips quivered.
"No," she cried. "You are my Blair."
"My name is Todd," he said. "Im sorry."
"Youre doing it to me again," she blurted. "I thought you had
changed, but youre still a deceitful bastard."
He gaped at her. My God, she thought, hes looking at me as if I were some kind of
"I have something for you," she said. She lifted the cover off the box. The
black handle blade shone in the half-darkness. She gripped the handle and pulled the knife
out of the box.
She swiped at him and the blade slashed his throat. Now he gives me that wide-eyed gaze,
she thought. Still no smile. Only an expression of shock, and terror. A neat bloody gash
along his throat. He tried to speak, as if to call out, but only a gargling sound could be
heard, and she was the only one there to hear it.
She slashed him again and blood spurted from his chin. He raised his hands in front of
him, as if to ward her off. She slashed his hands. He turned and tried to run but
collapsed on the pavement. He wasnt her Blair. Not the one who had promised to marry
her and love her forever. She slashed him again. He was the old Blair. The one who had run
out on her. She slashed him again and again until his suit was splattered in blood. He
twitched like a dying fish stranded on a beach.
She watched him gargle. Drown in his own blood. Just has she had watched the four others.
The gargling stopped. The twitching stopped. He stared up at her with unblinking eyes. She
wiped the blade over her dress. The dress didnt matter anymore. It was worn. She
would go home and dispose of it in her backyard as she had done with the
other four dresses.
When she finally found her Blair, and she would find him, she wanted him to see her in a
new dress, because he liked surprises. His eyes would light up and he would give her that
broad smile she adored. That is how she would know her Blair from the deceitful one. Until
then, she had the happy faces of "her children" to fill the void.
She picked up the box, put the knife back in it, and returned to the Neon. She pulled out
of the driveway, humming the words to "their" song. She was in love, and she
deserved to be.
© Larry Letemplier