Time skips and jumps. Some days get freeze-framed forever.
This dress was six dollars. I wore it on my 23rd birthday, my first birthday in Melbourne, the same morning I discovered that southern autumns are almost too cold, almond croissants are almost too sweet, being in love is almost too difficult.
Then the Melbourne of years later, when the winds had really picked up and every street undulated with old ghosts. The devastating funeral I attended on my 27th birthday, and then one week later packing this dress into a suitcase and fleeing to New York. A girl I barely knew from uni met me at Grand Central, let me sleep in her bed, helped me find an apartment. She told me you had to fight hard to live in New York but that each day was worth it.
The lilac fabric, by that time worn and washed-out. The dress concolorous with the pastel past you want to burst out of like a girl from one of those cakes. Debbie Reynolds in Singin’ in the Rain.
Everywhere the caress of the city.
How a place can make you so happy and therefore so desperate. How events twirl and tangle, twisting around each other like ribbon until you can no longer see the connections between each of them or where any of them might lead. Trying to cling on to all the different threads, as many as you can fit in your fighting fist. Understanding that, here, every anything could mean everything.
Your ex-boyfriend visits, he rows you across the lake in Central Park, you go to dinner and a show, you gaze down from the top of the Empire State Building together at midnight and flatten coins in the machine. You take the unanswered questions from that perfect day home like penny souvenirs, and as you walk to the subway you’re surprised at every step by how heavy such a frothy, light skirt can feel.
But just to be in such a city on such a day in such a dress!