Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm Sorry You Passed Away, Ann Marie

Do you Love my dress?!   You do??? Thanks.  That's very kind.

 Isn't she fabulous?  Vintage magic at it's finest.  She was $23!  Can you believe it?

I am elated in this dress!!! I am overtaken with joy and the desire to skip and hop and sing.  LALALALAAAAAA!  I'M WALKIN ON SUNSHINE.  YA AAAAH!

In this dress I defy the brightness of the sun at noon day.  In this dress I am a blooming yellow blossom  in Spring.  In this dress I am the ripe golden flesh of a juicy mango.  (I have a mango obsession as of late.)  In  this dress I am that delicious tangy, sweet lemon filling found in wedding cakes and such...

In this dress I am  in Love with Life and all her glory.

I wore her to church on Sunday.

One lady of indisputable good taste said,

"It's the most beautiful lady in the world!" (She meant me...)

I pretended to be modest but who am I kidding here?  In this dress I DO feel like the most beautiful lady in the world.


Ready for her story?  The story of this dress?  (It's long.  And total chick flick material.  Sorry.  Not my fault. I just write what comes.)

As I said, I wore her to church.

I sat in sacrament meeting with my head bowed in silent prayer.

I prayed, "Dear Lord, I am so sorry for all my many sins.  I am sorry I don't represent Thee better when I blog.  I'm sorry I am too vulgar...  I am sorry I am sinful and carnal and devilish...  Please forgi..."

I was interrupted.

"Excuse me...?  Pardon me... My name is Ann Marie.  I hate to interrupt your lovely prayer but you're wearing my dress."

I saw her in my mind.  Rosy cheeks.  Strawberry blonde waves.  Gentle meadow-green eyes.

She continued, "I died last week.  And I thought you'd might like to know my story before I go about my business in Paradise.  So much to be done, you know..."

"I'm sorry you have passed away, Ann Marie.  I hope it wasn't terribly painful," I responded, my prayer forgotten.  I would procrastinate the day of my repentance.

"Painful?  A bit, I suppose.  Heart attack.  Hardly knew what hit me. I was glad to go. Anyway, that's all water under the bridge now, isn't it?"

"Yes.  I suppose it is."

"I'm very beautiful now, aren't I?  I had become so saggy and slow.  I don't know how I managed all those years.  The mirror was very unkind at the end.  Youth is wasted on the young. They just don't appreciate... my face... my hair... my breasts... OH! My breasts were a pathetic sight by the end... Gravity, you know...". 

"Well you are very beautiful now," I said.

 "I sewed that dress myself in 1976,"  she said.  "My five year old daughter picked out the fabric."

"I was born in 1976," I thought.

"Yes.  I know."

"The dress is beautiful.  Wearing it makes me happy. The color is divine."

"Divine... yes.  Exactly my intention.

I was married to an handsome, young, unfaithful tyrant on my eighteenth birthday.  My father insisted on the match.  Good breeding and all.  He was the right sort, my husband. He smiled with all his teeth and combed his hair just so.  Mean as a snake though.  Our fathers golfed together.  I wanted to please.  Don't ever marry to please your father..."

"I'm already married.  Don't worry.  My father wasn't at all pleased...," I smiled.

"Those men.  My husband, my father, his father.  They all wanted me to give birth to a well-bred litter. I decided that I would simply not become pregnant.  When my husband's determined sperm came swimming up the birth canal I willed my womb an inhospitable environment.  I poisoned his seed with my disgust.  Killed them off batch by seedy batch.  I would not bring his child into this world.

After almost two decades of his abuse I quietly packed my bags one night and boarded a plane to Rome without a word to anyone.  I had always wanted to see Rome. 

I wandered the cobble stone streets at night. In Love for the first time.  In Love with Life.  In love with People.  And Language.  And Spaghetti.  And the glorious Sun, Moon and Stars.  There is no city in the world like Rome on a warm summer night.

It was on just such a night that I met a gypsy man.  A beautiful, dark, muscular gypsy man-child of 24 years with magic in his hands and fire in his eyes.

I had been warned about the gypsy people.  I was told they would steal my money and my virtue if I were not careful.

I wanted that swarthy gypsy man to steal me.  I let him take me.  He took me to new heights of pleasure.  He loved me well.  I knew he was transient by his very nature.  He would have me and go.  So I willed his seed to create a child within me.  I accepted him warmly.  Allowed new life to form.

Before he left he kissed me and said, 'The child you carry will be called Amore.  For she was conceived in Love.'

I returned to The States to have my baby.  My sister took me in.

When Amore was born I knew I would devote every second of my life to pleasing this magical Love Child.  I scarcely slept for five years, so enamored was I with my little girl.  I wanted to watch every second of her precious life.  I had not known my great capacity to love before Amore came into my life.

She was a vibrant, happy child.  Always laughing.  Always kissing me and reminding me how she loved me so.  You've never met a more loving child.

Amore became very sick at the age of four.  She was diagnosed with Leukemia.  I explained to her she was dying.  I wanted her to be prepared for what was to come.  I tried to be brave.  I tried not to cry.  But sometimes I couldn't help the flow of tears.

'Mama, please don't be sad.  I will be alright.  Please don't cry,' she would say as she wiped away my tears with her tiny brown fingers.

That was the day she picked out the fabric for this dress.  She wanted me to have a happy dress so I wouldn't cry when she died.  We purchased enough fabric to make her a tiny matching gown.  

We both wore our dresses to her funeral.  I didn't cry.  I died inside.  But I did not cry."

"Oh, Ann Marie, I am so sorry!  You had such an awful life here!"  I said.

"Awful?  No.  Amore made Life worth living.  And anyway, that's all water under the bridge now, isn't it?"  She laughed.  "Amore is here with me now.  We are having a glorious time together!  Everything is wonderful!  And can you believe we are the same age here!  It's great fun.  

She says you look beautiful in my dress.  Although, I must say, it suits me far better..." .

That was the last I heard from Ann Marie.


Anyway, my boy is singing a musical number next week in church with some other boys his age.  Here I am helping him learn his part.

This dress makes me wanna play music and sing all the live long day!

YAY FOR YELLOW!  YAY FOR LIFE!  YAY FOR LOVE!  Yay for that lemon filling found in wedding cakes and such!

Happy Sunshine Day Everyone!  Smile like it's your last. :)