Secret Lives of Dresses Vol. 16

by Erin on September 27, 2010


She always was straightforward. I felt her square her shoulders and take a deep breath. It made the buttons strain, just a tiny bit.

"Hal." She looked him right in the eye.

He was always perceptive. He didn't give her a chance to go on. He just said "I thought so." There was that half-grin, and the accompanying shrug. His hands in his pockets, not fidgeting, just there. 

"Why didn't you say anything?" Her hands smoothed the front of her skirt. If she had been a nervous person, that would have been her nervous habit.

"Ladies first …" 

"Always the gentleman." 

"Just not your gentleman." His grin lurched to the other side.

"A gentle man, all the same." Her hand lifted, almost to his face. He caught it and pressed a kiss into her palm. She didn't pull away, but he let her hand drop. 

"Well, then. I'll let myself out," he said. She stood still, and when she said "Hal" again it was to the empty room. Three whistled notes came through the window, then died away, the phrase abandoned.

[Image from Posh Girl Vintage.]


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellie September 27, 2010 at 6:10 am

Gosh. That is very moving. Close to tragic, almost.

Erin, you are a marvelous writer. Truly.


paige September 27, 2010 at 8:38 am

The story is great, of course, but the DRESS! GORGEOUS!!! So then my least favorite part of the post (but also my favorite because it was so clever):

“dress is sold, dammit”


Terri September 27, 2010 at 11:32 am

oooh, the drama in a dress. Well done.


amy a. September 27, 2010 at 11:39 am

So happy to see another volume!


PepperReed September 27, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I never thought i’d see my life in story form…


Karin van D. September 27, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Beautiful. The dress and the words.


Theresa September 27, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Wow. That made my heart weary, heavy and sad. Next time my heart is broken I hope I am wearing a dress like that.

Reply September 27, 2010 at 11:07 pm

beautiful- I love how you’ve built a whole world around these brief phrases (and lovely dress)
Just started reading Lydia Davis’ superb super short stories…(to tide me over, of course!)


Jessie September 28, 2010 at 8:14 am

Well, that made me feel sad and I find that I don’t care for Hal at all. I DO care for the dress, however.


Lavon September 28, 2010 at 8:40 am

Love the dress!


Sarah B September 28, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I found this in the Sydney Morning Herald today and found it slightly reminiscent of your Secret Lives series:
More real-life stories!


Maya September 29, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Cute, reminds of a more contemporary nataya pice.


Theresa September 30, 2010 at 9:08 pm

totally off topic…but I am watching on the Road with Austin and Santino on lifetime and what I find hard to believe is that all these little towns they go go still have mom and pop fabric stores when the rest of the American landscape is bereft if fabric stores


suzanne antique lover October 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I also love the dress… very elegant!


Rebecca October 8, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Wonderful! I love how you capture everything so perfectly in so few words. This almost seems like it could be a continuation of #15, just with different names.


joe October 12, 2010 at 10:26 pm



KateS November 7, 2010 at 11:15 pm

I want this dress so badly that my teeth hurt from clenching.
Also, I love the (heart-rending) story.


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