Dull Blue Dresses

by Jack Hockenyos, age 18
Dull Blue Dresses Jack is a rising junior from Austin, Texas who loves photography and photojournalism, and is exploring his love for creative fiction.

“One Sunday morning, my mind felt like a cloud of haze and dust. I had only gotten four hours of sleep the night before, and I felt myself strapped to the covers, unable to rise out of bed.”

One Sunday morning, my mind felt like a cloud of haze and dust. I had only gotten four hours of sleep the night before, and I felt myself strapped to the covers, unable to rise out of bed. However, I was supposed to attend a dance party later that day at a dance hall, between 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM; my best friend, Renee, had sent an invite via Facebook Messenger to which I could RSVP, and told me that the cost of purchasing tickets was expensive. However, she didn’t send me a link to where I could purchase tickets. Therefore, I didn’t buy them to get into the dance. I also didn’t have an outfit picked out; should I wear a dress or a skirt? If I was going to wear a dress, should it be flowy and long or a pencil skirt dress? Oh well, I decided not to worry about that issue until an hour before I had to leave.

After thirty minutes of resting in bed and gazing up at the ceiling, I finally lifted myself up, slipped into my slippers, and walked out into the cold air of my kitchen, where a box of pancake mix enticed me and awaited for my mouth to devour it. I propped open the lid, turned on the stove to medium heat, put a seared pan on top, and gathered sugar, milk, eggs, etc. in order to make the batter. Once I finished whipping up all of the ingredients in one deep bowl, I poured the batter onto the butter-seared pan; the dripping of the batter was like a slow waterfall, dropping onto the pan and making a sizzling sound that was piercing throughout the kitchen. The sizzling sound kept ringing and ringing out until I used up all of the batter and made seven pancakes; I was ready to devour those moist cakes! However, you can’t have pancakes without the sticky and sweet goodness of maple syrup and the creaminess of butter! As I was pouring maple syrup onto the mountain of pancakes, my mouth started salivating and drooling, just like a dog. The last ingredient that I had to put on those pancakes was butter; I pulled out a stick of butter from my bare-to-the-bones fridge, cut it in half, and smeared it across the surface of the top pancake in the mountain that I had made. Now, the pancakes were ready to be devoured! I took one bite and was immediately in heaven; the sweetness of the maple syrup and the creaminess of the butter combined with the moistness of the pancakes was the perfect breakfast food for today.

I don’t really like to eat with other people because I don’t want to see them staring at me while I eat my own meals. I would rather just eat alone in the quiet space of my kitchen, mindlessly chewing and humming along to myself.

Ugh, why did I eat so many freaking pancakes? What was my reasoning behind this decision? Was I truly ravenous, or was I eating in order to bury deeply rooted negative emotions? I came to understand that I wasn’t starving after all; instead, the pancakes were filling an emotional void.

I checked my watch and realized that it was time to pick out a dress for the dance that I was going to in exactly thirty minutes. I looked through my closet, and I found three dull blue dresses, all of which were long and flowy; I felt insecure about drawing attention from strangers by wearing a shiny dress even though I desperately wanted to, so the dullness of the dresses exposed me less.

Did I really want to try on each of the blue dresses, though? The immediate thought of trying them on filled me with dread and agony. What if I didn’t like the person I saw in the mirror reflected back at me? I was afraid of confronting my own body in the mirror.

When I finally mustered up the courage to try on all three of the dull blue dresses, I realized that I didn’t like how they looked on me because of my figure. The dresses made me look like an overweight pig. To be honest, I didn’t want to go to the dance because I felt self-conscious about having random strangers stare at me; even though I was wearing a dull blue dress, people would still have noticed that I was there and would have judged how I looked in that dress. I especially didn’t want to see anyone I knew because then I would have felt more exposed and vulnerable. At the same time, I wanted to feel good in my own body and to be able to look like a goddess in a glittery dress that highlights my figure, and to have people compliment me on my looks, but I felt too insecure to show myself off.

I asked myself this question: Should I arrive late, or should I arrive on time? If I arrived late, I wouldn’t have to spend as much time at the dreadful dance. However, if one of my friends saw me, she would most likely accuse me of being late, and then I would have to deal with that internal guilt for the rest of the time. If I didn’t go to the dance, Renee would text me, asking me where I was. Ugh, I really, really just wanted to block the world out. Maybe I could just disappear from reality under my covers, in the exact same position as when I woke up.

Even though I wanted to hide under my covers, I realized that it was not healthy to isolate yourself. The real question was: Should I call Renee to tell her that I’m not going to the dance party? If I called her, she might or might not be angry at me for calling at the last minute. After a few moments, I mustered up the courage to make that phone call.

“Hey Renee, how’s it going? I’m calling you because I really, really, really don’t want to go to this dance party you’ve invited me to,” I said with my heart beating in my chest, feeling nervous about how Renee was going to respond.

“Why don’t you want to go?” Renee asked with a concerned tone.

“I’m just feeling extremely insecure about having people stare at me and judge me based off of my appearance. I know that this is a last minute call, but I sincerely hope you aren’t pissed off at me,” I replied with sweat beads forming on my forehead and my internal body heating up like an oven preheating.

“Of course I’m not mad at you. I understand that sometimes, crowds can be fear-inducing for many people. Just know that I’m here for you whenever you need someone to talk to.”

Upon hearing those magical words, I exhaled loudly, sighing with relief; the weight of the world had just been lifted off my shoulders.

“After the party ends, I would like to spend time with you. Do you want to get together with me?” I asked, with anticipation in my voice and hoping that she would accept my offer.

“Umm, I would love nothing more than to spend time with you, Annie! Do you want to go have lunch with me?” Renee asked.

“Let’s go get coffee instead. I’m still stuffed from breakfast this morning,” I said.

“Ah, okay. Let’s meet up at 12:30 PM! So excited to spend one-on-one time with you!” Renee excitedly replied.

I was excited to spend one-on-one time with her too.

 

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