Lady In Red
Kate Mani, Grade 9, Genazzano FCJ College
Excellence Award in the 'Step Write Up 2011' competition
The dress was a slim fitting garment that fell to just below the knee. It was the colour of a fierce ruby red, had sequins adorning the bust and a handkerchief hem. From the moment Lisa saw it in the window of Femme Belle, she loved it.
Three days later she tried it. The shop assistant was a snooty, tight-lipped woman who didn’t hide her disapproval of Lisa’s second-hand jeans and well-worn boots. She almost sniggered at Lisa’s request to try the garment. But when Lisa slipped gracefully into the dress...what a sight to behold!
The dress showed off her beautiful figure, extenuating her long legs, pronouncing her delicate curves and hugging her small waist. Even the snooty shop assistant was short of breath, but only for a minute, reminding herself that this girl could never afford such an expensive item.
Lisa gazed in the mirror. The dress made her feel stunning and stirred a confidence she’d never felt.
“That dress is $345.99,” the shop assistant said, sticking her nose up.
Lisa solemnly slipped out of the world of princesses and back into reality.
When Lisa arrived at the nursing home where she worked, she took Ruby out. Ruby was 93 and loved Lisa wheeling her up the street. In fact, Ruby enjoyed anything she did with Lisa. Even though Lisa wasn’t meant to pick favourites, she couldn’t help having a soft spot for Ruby. There were hours when Ruby was sharp as a pin and others when she’d slip away into her own world. When they passed Femme Belle, Ruby gasped. Lisa rushed to her side.
“That red dress is...beautiful,” Ruby slurred her words but her eyes lit up as she lifted a shaking finger towards the window.
“Yes, isn’t it?” Lisa answered. “I tried it but it’s expensive.”
“Will you try it for me?”
“Well...” Lisa didn’t know if it was right, but she longed to experience the red dress again, even for a minute, so she guiltily agreed.
The shop assistant wasn’t pleased to see Lisa return. When Lisa put the dress on again, the assistant had to admit that of all the women who’d tried it, none of them showed off its beauty like Lisa.
Ruby’s eyes shone. “Absolutely dazzling,” she slurred.
Lisa twirled in front of the mirror.
“Planning on purchasing this time?” The shop assistant asked, returning to her cold self.
“The price again?” Lisa avoided her gaze
“Maybe one day...” Ruby murmured slowly.
When they returned to the home, Lisa turned to Ruby.
“Did I really look dazzling in that dress?”
“What dress?” Ruby asked slowly, looking blankly up at Lisa.
A week later, Lisa walked into the dining hall and noticed one of the residents was missing. She ran to Ruby’s room and saw her hunched over in her chair, fumbling in her lap.
Looking down, Lisa saw the entire contents of Ruby’s purse spilled out onto her dress. She was carefully counting out coins, and softly murmured something that sounded like