The montrous dress stares me down. Mom hung it up on the back of my bedroom door, so I can’t hide from it. No matter where I sit it’s there glaring at me. The pale purple fabric makes me want to puke. Mom kept stroking it and poofing out the skirt when she made me wear it for Dad and the little kids.
“It fits you nicely,” she said, and the most Dad would do to show his approval is nod.
My older sisters Helen and Amber made a big fuss over Carrie and basically ignored me. Instead I got stuck with Jason. I’d take the blathering idiot sisters over Jason any day.
“I’m so proud of you, Jennifer,” he announced, patting me on the back, barely glancing at the dress or even at me. “I’m so glad you’ve turned away from the dark path you were headed down. I’m so pleased you’ve decided to rejoin us in the light.”
Heat and pressure built up inside my stomach, like a mini earthquake. I try to swallow it.
“You’re welcome,” I replied, and it’s the hardest I’ve ever had to work to keep the sarcasm out of my voice.
Jason didn’t hear me. He was already waxing poetic about something else to his wife, Terese, who was all sweaty and red-faced as usual.
So now, after school, the dress is staring at me from the back of the door. Looking so innocent, so pretty and purple and girly. But when I look at it all I can see is the symbol of all my misery. It represents the mask I have to put on in front of basically everyone in my life. I can’t be myself anymore, not ever. Not in front of my parents. Not even with Carrie or John, the people who actually care about me. I have to put on this dress, this super prim and perfect exterior, to hide myself. To hide the ugly, impure monster I really am in their eyes.