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White Dresses

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White dresses have always been a symbol of purity for me. I couldn't tell you when I first decided to stop wearing anything else. It happened gradually, I suppose. All throughout sixth and seventh grade, I slowly accumulated a massive number of white dresses from various stores. The dresses themselves were of all different types: breezy summer dresses, dresses with long, flowing skirts, bright satin party dresses. Eventually I had so many that I didn't have to wear anything but these.

My parents--adopted parents--were well-to-do, and they didn't mind either my frequent shopping trips or the amount of nearly identical clothing items that I bought. They pretty much let me do whatever I wanted. At the time, I hated them, but looking back, I admire them. I think they tried to understand.

I mentioned before that white dresses have always been my symbol of innocence, of beauty. Even before my transformation, I was in love with the color white. The color of wedding gowns, of doves, of blank nothingness into which I could escape, of clouds. It was a welcoming, soothing color that could envelop me and let me forget the world.

Being the typical young girl that I was, however, my favorite color as a child was not, in fact, white; it was pink. I had a pink bedroom and pink clothing. Jeans and pink t-shirtsmade up my wardrobe at that point. I was so young then.

In fifth grade, I bought a white dress on a trip to the mall with my friend Jennie. I loved it. I wore it all the time, whenever I could.

My mother was an irresponsible woman. She was kind and intelligent, of course, but she was not fit to run a household and raise a child on her own. From the time I was very young, I would often come home to her lying on the couch or on the floor, sometimes in a pool of her own vomit, drunk or drugged up. I never said anything. I just cleaned up the mess, changed her clothes, and got her into bed. However much trouble she was, she was my mother, and I didn't want her to be taken away from me.

There were good days, of course. Days on which she was lucid and smiling, on which she baked cookies as a surprise for me when I got home.

And then came the day. It was in fifth grade. I was wearing my white dress, and I skipped home happily from the bus stop. Today was going to be a good day. I could feel it. I imagined the scent of cookies, my mother's welcoming arms reaching around me and holding me tightly. Then I opened the door.

My first instinct was to scream. My mother was lying on the floor of the kitchen, eyes closed, in a pool of blood. Her skin was waxy and pale, her light hair stained by the dark liquid around her. I tried to shake her awake. I screamed at her. I told her to wake up, to just wake up and everything would be all right again. I called 9-1-1, and they told me that someone would be over soon.

I knelt on the floor, sobbing, with her head in my lap, as her blood soaked through my dress and stained it red.



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