“Slip” by Carrie Wallace
When I’m six, it’s a ball gown. Silken straps slide from my shoulders and swaths of lace pool at my bare feet. I’m sinking, but it’s a game. No use trying to twirl or shuffle to the mirror. I feel like a girl in a movie.
When I’m fourteen, it’s a wish. The hem drags, but there’s promise in it, and I practice smiling, coyly tucking a curl behind one ear. The garage door slams, and I almost tear the neckline in my haste. Back on the hanger, plastic sheet like a corpse, and tucked away before he can see.
At twenty it’s a joke. I don’t even bother, knowing the lace will itch and the buttons braced against my back will only be an unwanted hand at my waist.
At twenty-two it’s a time machine. The fabric stiff against my collarbone, my throat bare where her necklace lay. A thin gold chain they buried her in, the pendant dull from years of wear. With one hand I twist my hair against my neck, where hers was pinned. I see her fingernails scrape the glass, meeting mine. I look just like the pictures, and if I stood still, dust would gather.
Biographical Note: Carrie Wallace is a senior at Loyola Marymount University, where she studies Elementary Education and English. She has loved stories in all forms for as long as she can remember, and hopes to continue writing about strange, sad girls for many years to come.