Creative Writing Ink August Winner

Your Favourite Blue Dress

Pauline McNamee

I stayed home to wash your favourite blue dress.
I hung it on the line and watched as
the drops of water dripped like tears from its fabric.
I hoped it would be dry
for you to wear Home
when you were well.

I didn’t know that you were dying.
Your only symptoms were a high fever
and you had cried out in the night
that your legs were sore.

If I had known how sick you were
I would have gone with you in the ambulance.
I would have embraced you,
smothered you with kisses,
told you how much you were loved.
I would not have left you alone and afraid.

When Daddy and I drove to the hospital
sympathetic nurses averted their eyes from ours.
They spoke in hushed tones as they led us to your side.
Our stupefied silence when we saw you
was shattered only by the incessant
Beep, Beep, Beep
of the life support machine
that helped you breathe.
Your beautiful eyes were closed.
Your hair was limp.
When I held your hand
it was cold.

Two days later Daddy carried your small, white coffin
down the long aisle of the church.
He held his head high as
his tears streamed uncontrollably.
His body, as broken as his mind,
stooped and bent under the weight as
he carried his little girl
on his shoulders for the last time.

Your favourite blue dress
was still hanging on the line
when we came home from your funeral mass.
I unpegged it
and held it to my face
hoping to smell your essence.
My tears spilled like drops of water on its fabric.

I was Fifteen. You were only Eight.