Prom Dress by David Dominé

That night when I pulled into the gravel driveway, the moon hung low over the apple orchard. Remembering the smooth fabric of Anne Spicer’s dress, I loosened the velvet bow tie at my throat and took a ragged breath. The sting of peach schnapps lingering in the back of my throat, I saw him standing at the back door. But I lowered my head and went in anyway. The belt was lying in its usual spot on the dining room table. Nearby, crumpled up on the floor, lay one of Anne Spicer’s dresses. He must have found it under my bed. It was the one she forgot to take with her earlier that afternoon after we scrambled to put our clothes back on when my father’s car crept up the drive.

It was the last time my father beat me.

The next day, I caught the Greyhound headed north, the wheels of the bus grinding the asphalt beneath. Leaning into the coarse upholstery of the seat, I recalled the gleaming dance floor and the cool blue taffeta of Anne Spicer’s dress. She had pressed herself close and mouthed the words to “Forever Young” as my fingertips traced a bit of delicate lace accentuating her bare shoulders. A band of sequins ran above the contour of her full breasts. The sound of the road lulled me to sleep and I dreamed of silk and curves.

A day later, I arrived in the city and soon found a rundown apartment. My bedroom window looked out over an alley that smelled of egg rolls and shrimp fried rice, but it had curtains the color of the dress Anne Spicer wore to the junior prom. In the darkened room during that first week, I often thought about her gown and how it had caught the disco ball sparkle in its sheen. After I got settled in and found a job, I bought a second-hand sewing machine. By the end of the year I was wearing dresses of my own design.

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