My Little Black Dress

My Little Black Dress

My father died of a heart attack while making love to his mistress. I was replaying what I could remember from the eleven years that I had known him, so I postponed plans of getting out of bed. Eventually I got up, as I couldn’t stand the humid discomfort of what could have been my sweat or tears. There were no missed calls. Not even Fidelis’ best friend Marvin, who knew what was going on, bothered to check on me. I had fallen asleep in the black cocktail dress, the one Fidelis bought for me during one of his trips to Milan. “When in doubt wear a little black dress” he joked. Over the months my wardrobe got stacked with several black dresses. Yesterday, I couldn’t decide on what to wear. After trying on more than a dozen black outfits, I recalled Fidelis’ ogling eyes when I put on the dress he bought, as we were getting ready for Chief Obajimi’s dinner party. Fidelis had just returned from Milan, and I was in love with my new dress, I so desperately wanted to launch it that day. Fidelis wasn’t going to have it. He said he didn’t realize it was a little too much. We had a fight because of the dress. Since that day, I could only wear it in the privacy of our bedroom.

It must have been somewhere around two in the afternoon that I started to feel hungry. The house was empty, all the domestic staff had gone to the memorial service. There were still no calls, no one had bothered to check on me. I walked into the kitchen; I remembered Fidelis had once made jollof rice for me, and I was pretty certain there was still some left, frozen in the freezer. I began to search frantically for the container of rice in the cold chest. In the middle of my search I paused, examined my numbing fingers, then I laughed, then I cried. I resembled a psychotic drug addict jonesing for a fix. I then remembered, I had eaten it on the day the news arrived.

I returned to our bedroom, I realized I had spent hours in the kitchen, possibly hours staring into the freezer, trying to play back memories. Memories only a sick mind could strive to distort, “he was the best” I said aloud to myself over and over again. The room was a mess, I couldn’t quite put back all the dresses I tried on yesterday. Some were on the floor, some hung haplessly over the wardrobe door, and some unfortunate ones must have been drenched in my sweat and tears. I reached for under the pillow, hoping to find one of those sweet notes Fidelis used to leave me. Under my pillow, was an order of service, “A service in celebration of the life of Chief. Joseph Odafe Oloko” My mind went back to fifteen years ago, when my newly-widowed mother in the midst of wailing, hair-scattering and floor-rolling, would pause to shriek powerful curses at Ms. Arinze. Then my mind also went to Ms. Arinze, I don’t know what became of her. I think she fled town, when the news broke out, but wherever she was, I secretly hoped my mother’s curses weren’t at work. Just as I was thinking of Ms. Arinze a text message came from Marvin saying “thanks for staying out of the way, we miss him dearly”. I didn’t know when I unconsciously started pulling off the sequins on my little black dress.

24 thoughts on “My Little Black Dress” by Addy Bardust (@addybardust)

  1. Well well well, think this was too short but very interesting. Could really picture the scene in my mind. All the replays going on in her mind was quite dramatic as well. Touché.

  2. I think i’m missing something here because i don’t quite get this. Or is it coz i’m just waking up?
    Somebody explain, please!

    1. Lade, that ‘eureka!’ moment when you get it is worth it! Read it again, i did.

    2. Lade, the clues are that MC got gifts from Fidelis; she talks about Marvin who knew what was ‘going on’; and the same Marvin thanked her for ‘staying away’.

      I found this a beautiful story of the loss of a loved one, especially because of the way it reveals what happened. What I did NOT like was the way the story of the main character’s father intruded into the story itself, rather than remaining in the background.

  3. Nice…a way to reminisce on mourning thoughts…not so easy….

  4. I don’t know, but I think I’m getting quite a different understanding to this. Quite certainly Fidelis is dead, but the message from Marvin seems to carry much deeper insinuations.

    @Addy, I need your help here.

    1. I’m thinking it IS what u r thinking. Assuming u r thinking what am thinking.

  5. 4 things:
    Vivid and lovely, the first line got me hooked just like Toni Kan’s Night of the Creaking Beds. Something i’ve been trying to learn. And the rest of the story followed the thread.

    I ‘entered’ the first line so much I was lost by the end. I re-read it and found out I took a big detour despite the hints in-between.

    After i found my way i loved the ride but its too short! Way too short!

    Thumbs up!

    1. thanks AnnaBella …..I think I actually wrote this after reading Toni Kan.

  6. 1.The true spirit of a short story is to say very little in very little time.
    2.Having said that,many readers may be lost if things aren’t made a bit clear.
    3.I think you were saying Fidelis was cheating on you just like ur father did to ur mom 15yrs ago…and Marvin’who knew what was going on’sends a not saying ‘thanks for staying out of the way’ because you may just have cursed,raved and ranted as ur mom did to Ms.Arinze.
    4.I deserve a gift,dont I?

    1. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

      No Berry, I think it is the other way round. The MC is the ‘other lady’. I think she is the one sleeping with someone’s husband. The hint, “thank you for staying away”. I believe the MC’s father kept a mistress, hence the analogy.
      All said, methinks the story, though fetching, left too much to the imagination.

  7. Wow, so many variations to this. Addy, you may have to show us into your tots o.

    I kinda agree with Fred though, i think the MC is also some sort of Mistress to the dead guy. If not why would the Marvin person thank her for staying away from the memorial?

    How ever, i find the bits about her father a distraction from the main point of the story.

    I only hope i got that right. Nice one tho!

  8. thanks everyone…..I guess I have to clear a few things….I thought they were pretty…Fred and guys got it…MC is Fidelis’ mistress.I tried to use the parallel story of her father to sort of show her confused state of mind.

  9. WHOOSH;one word,intense.

  10. AH! I get it now. The mention of her father kind of intruded into my thought process but as AnnaBella said, i finally got my ‘Eureka’ (that’s giving me ideas for a story by the way)
    Thanks AnnaBella and Tola.

  11. Well, I also got hung up on the Dad’s story and couldn’t see much else. The text message also told me something was up but…thanks for the clearing the air.

    Asides that, it is a really good one.
    Well done!

  12. this one is a winner. i had to read it again though but totally gripping stuff!

  13. Got the message after three reads.I’m used to being spoon-fed, so this cut across as a little obscure to me.

    Good work anyway.

    Well done!!!

  14. I only got the message after going through all the comments. And I also agree that the father’s story was quite distracting. It’s a good piece, but maybe needs better execution. Well done.

  15. An intriguing read! I was also lost by the time i had gotten to then end of the story but by the time i was done reading it a second time i got the gist..the tool of show but don’t tell was used quite nicely although a little bit of telling might have left us less befuddled! well done all the same!

  16. should i be sorry @ her loss?

  17. Touched….I was confused at first but that text at the end made me re-evaluate what I read then I was like aahh! lol

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