Daily prompt: Tell us all about your best confidence outfit. Don’t leave out the shoes or the perfect accessories.
“Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.”
The younger one gasped. You thought that out all by yourself?
No, I didn’t. It’s a quote by Regina Brett, but it’s appropriate. It is a special day. We have to get her at least halfway.
If they can get her to halfway, the rest should be easy. That’s why the two women are going the extra mile: every inch gained, will make the journey easier.
It’s too big, the one with the glasses and the sad look said as she lifted the garment in the air.
Not really, her friend said, she’ll fit into this. And we can pin it back a bit, too.
But she hates black. She always hated black.
Yes, but this is affordable. She didn’t want to use cheaper, but that’s what she meant. They both knew they couldn’t afford buying at the PEP store across the street. The hospice-run shop had to do. Franny always dressed up for any occasion, and this one wouldn’t be any different.
The dress must have been an eye-catcher in the years gone by. The one with the glasses said it was a Princesse style, hanging in a straight line from the shoulders and flaring at the hem. Her friend was impressed.
They both remembered the way she looked when they had the Vermaaks making music on New Year’s Eve in Boggel’s Place. Franny was the centre of attraction, with a flared floral skirt and a flimsy blouse. She danced the polkas and mazurkas with wild abandon, causing slow wolf-whistles from the men and envious glances from the ladies.
And there was the time on Vetfaan’s farm, when he celebrated that record wool cheque, remember? Her companion nodded. That was a great party. Boggel introduced them to the newest drink on the market: Cactus Jack. Rolbos was never the same after that. She must have been the first woman, ever, to do a pole dance with a Voortrekker dress. And after her kappie fell off and that long, blond hair cascaded loose over her shoulders, even Oudoom applauded. They laughed at that.
We’ll miss her. She used to be such a sport on the parties. She teased Vetfaan and Kleinpiet and flirted with Boggel. She even had Oudoom drink a toast to Love and Happiness one night, remember?
She’ll need gloves, and a hat, as well, the younger one said, and shoes.
They rummaged around in the boxes standing around in the charity shop. An almost-new pair of black high-heels immediately met with their approval. The 1940’s bonnet was just right. Elbow-high silver gloves completed the outfit.
She’ll love this.
Do you think they’ll leave the coffin open at the service?
The funeral was in two day’s time, to give her wide circle of friends enough time to come from all over the country. The response to her death had been overwhelming – they never knew how many people’s lives she had touched or influenced in some way or other.
No, not after the accident. The hospital said…
She let the sentence hang in the air; it was too sad to complete
Her companion nodded. I know. It’s just such a pity.
They left with the clothing folded up in a brown paper bag. Walked out to dress their friend who graced their lives from time to time; when she paid them a rare but welcome visit. Walked out without looking at the poster next to the newspaper vendor – the one that read: Kalahari Ballerina to be buried in her Hometown. They didn’t see – didn’t want to see – the heading above the photo of the wrecked aeroplane; No Survivors in Blazing Crash.
They drove off, heading for the boutique in central Upington.
Have we got enough money? She’d insist on real French stuff, you know?
Oh, yes, the clever one with the glasses said. We’ve saved so much on the clothing we can really go to town now.
They both remembered how Franny used to corrupt the famous quote on lingerie: if your lingerie makes you feel glamorous, you’re halfway to turning heads. Only she worded it differently; she said you’re halfway to heaven.
Now she’s only got halfway to go, the younger one said on their way back to Rolbos.
And the woman who knows everything smiled sadly. Maybe less, she said.