The back of the silvery white dress across my bed looked like the top of an intricately iced cake.  My mother taped my breasts so that they pressed up and out.
      You should have seen it.  I wish you had been there.
      We drove around, looking at the Christmas lights.  He was angry with me for not talking.  But if I'd talked, he'd have been angry with me for not saying the right things.  He told me how pretty I looked.
      I was too young for this dress but you wouldn't have known it.
      I wish you could have seen this part also; I'm wearing my soft pajamas.  I'm sitting in front of the electric heater.  I'm trapping the orange coils' heat in the palms of my hands.  The house is cold, but I'm cozy with a plate of hard ginger snaps and mug of hot chocolate.  The air smells slightly burned, like toast.  I am waiting for Christmas.
      I used to talk to you in my head more often than I do now.  I met you at bus stops, in the rain, at bookstores, in the library.  You had eyes like chocolate drops, like moss, like clean swimming pools.  You would offer me your umbrella, or talk to me about War and Peace.  Everything you said was so clever but also deep, falling into me the way a penny falls into a well.  They were my own words, of course, yet they seemed so much smarter than anything I knew how to say.  I could only hope you were real, some phantom inhabiting me.  At night, I would fall asleep, and almost believe.
      I read personals in the paper.  I imagined I was older, and wondered what things I'd like when I grew up and left.  Hiking in the Green Mountains.  Men who spread their coats over puddles.  Strawberries and chocolate fountains.  Most of the personals were not like that.  It took awhile to figure out what they were saying.  DVWM.  SBF.  I was LWG.  But nobody would have gotten it.  Nobody would have gotten the L for lonely part.  I listened to 8 tracks.  I could only find used 8 tracks, so I listened to music before my time.  Roberta Flack sang "Killing Me Softly."  Judy Collins sang about Dorothy — why did she ever leave Oz?
      When I wore that dress I imagined you were there, watching me.  You would take my hand and I'd walk out, walk away, just like that.  And later, I could see it in my mind's eye.  That dress.  It was melted, a silver puddle at our feet.  
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