Published on May 28th, 2011 | by Yellow Magpie13
Ann’s Story: Chapter Three ‘The Purchase’
The next day in the solicitors’ office, where Ann worked as a secretary, the other girls were talking about their weekends. Julie was saying how John and herself went out for dinner.
‘It was great, the meal was delicious’.
‘We didn’t do anything on Sunday, we just relaxed by the fire and read the papers, but it was nice,’ Marie said.
And so it continued. No one asked Ann what she did, or where she had been, they had long since given up on that, they knew she spent her weekends alone and at home.
At 45, Ann had never been married, most of them thought she had never had a man in her life, and not one of them knew of the dreams and hopes she had.
‘Poor Ann, they would say,’ when she wasn’t there, ‘living all alone isn’t it sad, no children, no husband, it must be very lonely. But then she doesn’t do anything to help herself. look at the way she dresses, she is so dowdy the whole time. She won’t join anything… she is as odd as two left feet.’
Ann knew what they said behind her back, and the sad fact was they were mostly right. She was desperately lonely, she rarely went out, and her wardrobe badly needed a face-lift.
But she had lost her passion for life a long time ago and couldn’t seem to get it back. She was more than stuck in a rut, she was buried head neck and heels in it and didn’t know how to find her way out.
She envied the other girls in the office, they all seemed to be more confident than she was and they all had boyfriends and husbands to share their lives with. Ann hadn’t the first clue how to meet anyone. And if she did fancy someone, she always froze when they were around, and pretended she wasn’t interested in them. So nothing ever came of her attractions.
Her life consisted of work, television, bed, walking at the weekends, more television, reading and very little else. She mostly read self-help books, her house was full of them, together with goals that she had written on pieces of paper all over the house. But that’s as far as it went, she dreamed of a better life but didn’t know how to change anything.
Another Monday finished and Ann, put on her coat and headed home, taking the same route as she always did. When she arrived at the house, her neighbour was out again, ‘dam ‘thought Ann, ‘now I am going to have to say hello to her.‘
But the woman didn’t see Ann, she was too busy, sweeping the path at the front of her house. This time she was wearing blue jeans, and a bright pink t-shirt, her hair was piled high on her head with a sparkling slide.’ She even manages to look glamorous sweeping the path for God’s sake,’ Ann thought enviously.
She opened her own gate as quietly as she could and walked silently in the door. Once inside she looked across the road again, the woman finished sweeping and began to weed the garden. Then Jim, a neighbour from down the street, happened to be going by. The woman smiled at him, and before long, the two of them were in a great chat, with her laughing.
Ann could see that Jim was taken with her, ‘she looks like a right flirt’, thought Ann. Yet she continued to watch, even though she knew she had things to do in her own house.
Ann could get a good look at her now, she had a strong attractive face, and a row of pearly white teeth when she laughed. She wore an impressive large flat gold ring on her right hand. The belt around her skin tight jeans, had a large brass buckle and her pink t-shirt showed off her full bust.
‘Oh just look at Jim, he looks like the cat who got the cream, men are such idiots when a good looking woman is around.’
Jim left, and the woman returned to her work. Ann was amazed at the way she kept at it, working away, without taking a break, until finally she put all the weeds into a cardboard box and brought them around the back of the house.
At last, Ann turned from the window and to her own life, she peeled some potatoes, fried some mince, opened a can of baked beans, and switched on the TV, to look at another soap.
That night the dress came dancing back into her head once again, Ann loved it and the way it made her feel just to think about it. Then a mad thought came into her head. ‘Why don’t you buy it?’ Ann tried to dismiss it.
‘What would I do with a dress like that, where would I wear it? Anyway how much was it? 500 euro, or something ridiculous like that.
Ann did her best to chase the thought away, but it kept niggling at her all night, even in bed, she could see herself in it. Suddenly and impulsively she decided she would buy it, she didn’t have a clue if she would ever get a chance to wear it, but the thought was so insistent that she knew she just had to have it.
The next day on her lunch break, Ann walked to the shop, she dreaded going in and saying she wanted to buy the dress, she felt totally intimidated, but she was determined.
When she reached the shop, her heart sank, the dress was no longer in the window. ‘Oh, no, someone must have bought it, Ann opened the door of the shop, this time she felt a little more confident at least she was wearing her work clothes, a black skirt, black court shoes, a black jacket and white blouse, taking a deep breath, Ann went over the counter, there was no sign of Michelle, ‘thank goodness’, Ann breathed a sigh of relief.
Behind the counter was another woman around Ann’s age. ‘There was a red sequined dress in the window last Saturday, is it gone?’
‘Yes, I know the one you are talking about, no it is still here, it’s a size 10.’
‘ Yes that’s the one,’ Ann said, not really knowing now if she wanted it or not, ‘I am going to have to spend 500 euro, on something I will probably never wear’.
But all those thoughts disappeared when Ann saw the dress again, it had haunted her thoughts so much it was almost like seeing an old friend.
Ann watched as the assistant who was called Olive, wrapped the dress in tissue paper, before putting it in the large bag with the shop logo on the side. Ann paid over the 500 euro, and left the shop.
When she arrived back at the office the other girls, saw the bag,
‘Oh you bought something in Sabrina’s, let’s see?’, a curious Marie asked.
‘Emm..it’s not for me, I was just collecting something for a friend,’ Ann responded.
Ann knew this sounded hollow, they all knew she had no real friends, ‘it is all wrapped up inside, I can’t show it to you,’ she said.
Ann wanted to show them the dress, but she was afraid they would laugh at her. After that they would ask if she was going somewhere special. So she kept it to herself.
Finally, 5.30 came and Ann put on her coat. Excited she grabbed the bag, and almost ran home, she wanted to try on the dress again.
She was so energised by it that she forgot to look across the road to see what her neighbour was doing. Ann raced into the bedroom and whipped off her work clothes, and carefully took the dress from the bag.
She removed the tissue paper and unzipped it. The fall of the dress over her body immediately gave Anna a thrill, she looked at herself in the mirror and once again gasped,’It is just stunning, I look amazing in it, I just have to find somewhere to wear it, there must be something I can go to.’ She turned to the left to the right, she wondered what shoes would go best with it, what earrings?
‘Wow, if a man saw me in this I would definitely make an impression, she thinks wistfully.’
But the more she looked at it the more she realized there was nowhere special for her to wear it. She began to regret buying it. ‘You silly old fool,’ she goaded herself. ‘Where in God’s name are you going to get a chance to wear it?’
Yet something was telling her that one day, she would get her opportunity.
She reluctantly removed the dress, which made her happy just to look at it, She hung it carefully in the wardrobe, where it looked totally out of place, with her other drab clothing.
Ann felt pleased with herself and proud that she had something so sensational hanging in her wardrobe.
‘No one could ever guess, I own this.’ She said to herself. ‘One of these days I am going to make a splash in it.’