A man and a woman stand in an upscale fitting room. The man wears a plain wool suit. The woman wears a gown covered in small mirrors from head to toe. Only her face is visible.
Man: You look…
Woman: I’m a disco ball.
Man: You’re a celebration.
Woman: I’ll cut myself.
Man: Nonsense. Finest silk inside.
Woman: Everyone will stare.
Man: Everyone will envy you.
Woman: I don’t need envy. Don’t want it.
Man: Just wait until you get a taste for it.
Woman: The collar’s too tight.
Man: It isn’t.
Woman: It’s too heavy.
Man: You can bear it.
Woman: I can’t even move.
Man: No need.
Woman: If you love it so much, why don’t you wear it?
Man: It was made for you.
Woman: What about velvet? Luscious black velvet, sumptuous velvet that kisses your skin.
Woman: Or even flannel, that baby soft kind, a flannel blanket to wrap you up warm.
Woman: Or just cover me in leaves, the bark of a tree, leathery mushrooms, furry moss, just bury me in forest, root me into the dark rich soil. Dip me in mud, silky mud, I’d drip all over this city, seep my way across the red carpet. But then, why go? Covered in all that lovely mud, better to stay home, better to seep, to sleep out there in the mud. Bury myself away, hide away yes, you know I hate these lights, this glare. I’ll go lay in the earth, pull the soil over me, and sleep sleep sleep, hide and sleep, oh, it’ll be perfect, wonderful to be so unseen.
The woman begins to exit.
Man: Wait! You can’t just…
Woman: Can’t I?
Man: No, I mean, the dress.
They both consider the dress. She tries to take it off, but struggles.
Man: Here, let me…
He helps her take off the dress. Underneath she is wearing plain cotton underwear. The dress ends up in a heap on the floor, which the woman kicks. Once she has conquered the dress, she remembers how soft her skin is. She and the man share a look. The woman exits. Off-stage, she crawls into the earth.
The man is stunned for a few beats, then he carefully picks up the dress. He holds it in front of himself. He wrestles with indecision, then takes off his suit and puts on the mirrored dress. He is radiant. Main lights dim while spotlights shine on the dress, casting light over the audience.
K.A. Nielsen (she/they) is a US writer living in Sweden. Their work is published at The Hunger, LandLocked, The Collidescope, and elsewhere. You can find them online at @_kanielsen_.