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Intertwined Fates (Victoria)
The seamstress poked and prodded at the iris Vera Wang dress that twirled around Vicky. She cringed at each prick of the needle, another gratuitous apology coming her way. The petite seamstress had made her way 360 degrees around Vicky. Vicky could already predict where the splotches of blood around her thighs would be and the amount of band-aids it would take to cover them up. She recoiled at the thought of strutting around Manhattan with a montage of band-aids plastered all over her legs. What a sight that would be.
Sophia was the best seamstress in the Big Apple--everyone knew that. Her designs were also flourishing throughout. The bride was riveted by one of her designs, but Sophia confessed that she couldn’t complete it in time. She was truly a miracle worker, and Vicky knew that putting her dress in the hands of Sophia was the most pragmatic decision she could make.
The bride had taken the heretical approach to choosing her bridesmaids’ dresses—she chose the bluntest ones in the store. Didn’t they usually suggest choosing dresses that were actually flattering? Vicky had to concur that hers wasn’t completely repulsive, but it was enough to make Vicky feel sick to her stomach. She was prepared to shred the dress to pieces. Ever since the first time Sara had introduced her to the dress, she noticed that it had a trite façade to it; a faded look that made it seem so drab. Vicky never had the tenacity to ever mention it to Sara though. She had to have a warm essence towards her new sister in law, who was an immaculate representation of Bridezilla. When Kenneth proposed to Sara, before she could even utter a response, the caterers were already taking her orders and the venue was already cleared out for the fifteenth of June. What did Kenneth see in her? Vicky had no clue. She was smart—a poised business woman—but her sanity was dubious.
“There honey, done.” The seamstress’ heavy Greek accent thwarted her pronunciation. “Vera is the best. My daughter got married in a Vera dress—oh, she was beautiful. And look at you,” she spun Vicky around with her index finger. “You look like a princess.”
“Oh, thank you. Is there somewhere I can change?” Sophia tipped her glasses down to the tip of her nose, inclining her head towards the entrance. Beside it, a minute room, that was supposedly a dressing room, lay open and clear. “Right...” Vicky muttered. She swiftly grabbed the heap of her clothes on a chair and made way for the dressing room. The room had a slight stench to it. It wasn’t exactly good or bad, but just a bit bizarre. Vicky glanced at her figure in the mirror, a pear shape that many thought was attractive. Her hips bulged out just a smidge but her abs looked incredible with the dress clinging to them. She pivoted around, examining each and every bit of herself. It was always weird for Vicky to look at herself. In school, while all the other girls would moan and groan about their disproportionate figures (which were in fact, perfect), Vicky never obtained opinions. They say that your worst critic is yourself, but Vicky never critiqued herself. If other people did, then Vicky was completely oblivious to them. She wouldn’t have really fretted over it anyhow.
The dress zipped down with ease, as Vicky anxiously slipped it down. Her stomach was relatively flat, her arms rather muscular.
When Vicky walked back out of the dressing room, at least five pairs of eyes burned through her. Sophia had paused conversing with two of them, and the other two were fidgeting around the store. Vicky quickly assessed herself, to double check if anything was wrong. She was perfectly okay, at least it seemed. She was holding up the dress to her chest, and they seemed to be gazing out at it. One of the ladies conversing with Sophia steadily approached Vicky, who seemed a bit petrified by the whole thing.
“That is the most stunning dress I have ever seen!” the woman exclaimed, nods coming from the others behind her. Vicky’s jaw literally dropped.
“I’m sorry, are you talking about this dress?” Vicky asked incredulously.
“Yes! Of course I’m talking about that dress. It’s incredible!” Vicky thought this woman was insane. She--as well as the others--clearly had deficient eye sights. The dress that Vicky saw couldn’t have been the same one they saw.
“It is beautiful, isn’t it?” Sophia denoted. She dreamily gazed at it, sighing out wistfully.
“Thank you...” Vicky said reluctantly. “Now, how much will it be?” Vicky stepped up to the counter, past the eccentric ladies, and placed the dress on the counter. She was supposed to give Sara all the receipts and Sara would supposedly reimburse her, but Vicky sympathized enough for all the expenses towards the wedding, that she was willing to pay herself.
“I usually charge $70.” The seamstress glimpsed at Vicky momentarily and back at the dress on the counter, pursing her lips. “But for you, I’ll charge $50.” Vicky smiled graciously, portraying her appreciation for the twenty dollar markdown. As she slapped down her credit card, the seamstress artfully skimmed over her name. “Victoria. How beautiful!” Vicky grinned at the all-too familiar compliment. Sophia slid the card through her machine, and passed it back to Vicky. The old-fashioned receipt printer creaked as it printed out a receipt.
“When should I pick it up?”
“Thursday, maybe?” Sophia leaped into the room behind her and peered at something. “Oh, no! Thursday I’m closed. How about Saturday at 10?” Saturday was the day of the wedding—but Vicky was sure she could manage.
“Alright. Thursday it is!”
“And you don’t worry! I’ll make you look like a princess!” Sophia winked slyly at Vicky, who couldn’t help but laugh.
“Thank you Sophia,” she said genuinely. Sophia beamed with delight. This woman was really the icon of happiness—she was always smiling as if every person on the street was someone to smile at. From experience, Vicky knew such a thing wasn’t possible.
The little bell on the door jingled as it closed behind Vicky. It was rush hour in Manhattan. Seven o’clock—the business men were strolling amongst the streets with their Bluetooth headsets and briefcases. Boisterous little toddlers held their parents’ hands as they walked across the crosswalks, counting down with the little machine at the end of it. Chirpy young girls pecked their boyfriends on the cheek as they strolled past the honking taxis and belligerent drivers.
Then there was Vicky—single, despondent, and about to experience her baby brother getting married. It wasn’t that she wasn’t happy for him—she loved Kenneth and as much as she’d hate to admit it—Sara was a good fit for him. They’d live happily ever after—Vicky knew that. It was that wistful desire to find her happily ever after. It was a clichéd thought—lingering upon the minds of many characters in movies—but it was what Vicky wanted. Vicky wanted to fall in love, but she veiled that fiery desire. All that people saw in her was an astringent, crude woman.
Vicky’s family loved her dearly. She supposed that it was a blessing to have such a tight-knit family in such a cosmic city. Had she attended Church every Sunday with her family, she would’ve thanked the lord. But instead, on Sunday mornings Vicky curled up under a fleece blanket to watch Sunday morning cartoons with her customary decaf tea. It was a tradition she was reluctant to break.
Thursday nights were nights out at Faustina with the family, the mediocre priced Italian restaurant that had been a childhood favorite of Vicky’s. The waiters knew all of them by name. Bonjourno Victoria! they’d exclaim at the weekly sight of her. Every week, her mother would bounce in with a content glow on her face, and her father would tip his head shyly as his way of showing affection. And Kenneth—as well as the new addition—would prance in hand and hand with the slightest bit of glimmer in their eyes. It seemed as if Vicky was the only one who wasn’t content with her life, with what she had. Everyone else had something—they had someone to look forward to when they were coming home. Someone to talk to—about anything. They had someone who chose to love them for who they were—and not love them because of some blood relation or because they were stuck with them for the rest of their lives.