It Hangs in My Closet

I never wanted to wear white.
I know it’s what most do
— It’s what all my friends did
regardless of length or style —
But white was for purity and innocence
And I’d waited too long
To be called such things anymore.
I’d always imagined
There would be splashes of color
— Scarlet red, or maybe sky blue in the
bodice or the skirts —
Or I’d dye the train in a rainbow,
A perpetual kaleidoscope
Glittering in the sun
As I walked down the aisle.
That was more my style.
I never knew,
What exactly my dream gown
Would be, what it would look like,
I never had visions of the perfect day
growing up.
Going to that boutique
I just thought I’d know it when
I saw it,
Or at least I hoped I would
For a gown that would cost so much
And be worn for so little,
It really had to be something special
Something I could love and cherish
And make an eternal promise in.
A different kind of suit of armor.
Funny that it happened just that way:
A drop waist gown
With lace and pearl beading,
Long sleeves with a sweetheart neckline,
And in ivory with champagne petticoats.
Not white. Off white. Like me.
A match made at first sight.
It felt strange putting it on that first time
Like it was and wasn’t meant for me,

So regal and chic, fit for a princess,
And not my barely together 30-year-old
But there wasn’t another choice for me.
It was decided
My heart invested
My soul in agreement.
Now it hangs in my closet
In its pristine wardrobe bag
Waiting for a day
That may never come;
the original occasion
cancelled with a single e-mail and the click
of a mouse.
I’m not sure what to do with it,
This beautiful gown made for love
A gown I chose and it chose me.
What does one do with such an expensive
piece of fabric,
That was tailored to be your second skin
On the happiest day of your life?
I can’t open it and look at it yet
I know if I do too soon,
It’ll split my heart in two
Just as its begun to stitch its broken pieces
Back together,
But I have no interest in giving the gown
So for now it’ll stay
A reminder of what was had
Maybe even a hope,
For what may yet still come.

About The Author

“What are you?” is a question Saroya gets asked since she's ethnically ambiguous, and wears the occasional wig, whether it be black, gray, or green (like a mermaid). She is a biracial, bisexual feminist born and bred in the golden state of California who writes about the challenges of identity.