Birthday Party

by Sanjana Thakur

The dress is blue. A deep navy blue, not blue like the sky, or the water, or the bath- room shower curtain behind which I am hiding. Navy. Dark blue M&Ms, my father’s second-favourite work tie, the outer rings on a blue-ringed octopus and the fingertips of a Glaucus atlanticus, otherwise known as sea swallow, blue dragon, blue sea slug. That kind of blue. The kind of blue I have to look up to know how to put into words.  The dress is plus-sized and when I bought it I was happy that my size was 1X, which is basically XL, which is a normal person’s size, right? I am a normal person’s size. Right? Anyway. The dress is strappy with a floral lace overlay and it is lovelier than I deserve. I’ve been working up the courage to wear it tonight. It makes me feel pretty.  The dress is too short, everyone thinks. My sister says she wears dresses like this all the time but my grandmother says that’s different. My six-year-old cousin tells me it shows my fat thighs. I say nothing to the six-year-old but I tell my grandmother I am “fucking angry” and then I cry because I am “fucking angry” and then she cries because I am angry with her. I change into jeans and a black blouse, unobjectionable by anyone’s standards, and when my grandmother tells me I look nice I want to tell her I feel ugly. I don’t know if I will ever wear the dress, a dress, again.

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