i bought a pink floral-print wrap dress last week. it has a twirl skirt with pleats and i don't know that any item of clothing has captured summer in bloom quite the way this dress does. in retrospect, you might say that i was tempting fate.
my totally useless superpower is that i can tell you what i was wearing the first time i met anyone who i knew would become significant to me. sometimes i can tell you what they were wearing as well. i can trace the outline of a conversation by the way it felt and what song i was listening to that season, but my best trick is that i commit conversation to memory by what we were wearing at the time. i never planned this; just one day realized that i was able to recall everything i was wearing at important moments in time. it's a by-product of the way that i obsessively document everything as it happens in real time, trying to capture the exact way a moment feels because i'm always thinking about the short time we have here together; about the fact that nothing in this life is ever going to look exactly like the present moment ever again. we all have ghosts, and mine is the spectre of finiteness.
now then, about this dress which i haven't worn anywhere yet: it's a dare. the universe has demanded so much truth from me this past year—every other moment surfacing timeless wounds or forcing revelations i didn't want to have or making me cry on the floor while trying to make sense of this plotline from hell. February was the worst month. i had no inspired feelings and wrote no good words, just stayed inside and was cold all the time. but if you've ever played Truth or Dare (against the universe, against anyone) then you know that sometimes you can escape a demand for truth by strategically picking dare. suddenly it's an entirely different game.
it's not like i have anywhere to go wearing such a dress, not yet. buying the most over-the-top-stunning summer dress is daring the universe to prove me wrong in my hope for brighter days—and hell, it is ever audacious to dare to hope for the first time in what feels like forever. the dress will probably hang in my closet for another few months. i would say that i'm waiting on the right moment, but i already know which futures i am going to memorize while wearing this dress. making plans is an act of celebration, and it is bold to conspire for joy against a universe which has withheld it for so long. this dress feels like hope, and that feels wild, bright and new. hope begets stories, and sometimes i think that stories are all we have.
the present moment feels a lot like the headspace of this piece, and i'm not sorry for it. the first warm day arrived and suddenly everyone is writing yearning tweets about all the outrageous things they're going to do while wearing crop tops and tiny dresses and all the other things we haven't had a reason to wear for a whole year. i, too, am making up stories and planning for the future while fully understanding that when it gets here it is going to completely, irrevocably ruin my perfectly fine life. but knowing that makes me want it more—they tell me that all things worth wanting in this life are worth the wait. this year-long exercise in pining and restraint had better be worth the wait.
it's simply true that there's no better song written about pining than "dress"—say my name and everything just stops / i don't want you like a best friend / only bought this dress so you could take it off. buying a dress just so someone can take it off is, similarly, a dare; just another move in the game. this wild life requires playfulness if we're going to make it out alive, so we play—we take turns bargaining and hoping and anticipating and inciting, meeting each other in conversation to exact truth out of this existence, daring each other into doing things we will tell stories about later. everything—hope, expectation, anticipation, desire—it all converges into this singular game we play (with the universe, with each other). on every turn we are made new again, writing and rewriting until we understand who we are—to ourselves, to each other. one day we wake up and realize we've written a whole story together.
the dress is an opening move; a beginning. if i have this over-the-top, twirl-worthy dress—a dress worth making plans for—then it follows that i simply must make plans. the dress is a license to hope, to begin to feel everything which i didn't dare feel for the whole last year; to unearth these bones from this long winter and recall the way it feels to revel. this dress has stories yet to tell, and so do i.