THE SPECIAL DRESS
Patricia had watched him go, she had seen two things at a time. She was confused and almost scared. She wondered how come the teenage boy she saw earlier turned out to be the Jimi she knows and why was he staring that way then, why did he move like a ghost and then pretended to cross the streets like every other normal being. She thought about the eyes she thought she saw in the mirror, they were blue, blue like the sea, the kind of blue you could never had missed except if you were blind and now it was dark-brown when he got closer. “The face too, his face was totally different and unfamiliar, almost girly, a very handsome boy he would have been if he wasn’t looking so, so weird” she rejected the original word that came to her mind in her thoughts. She pushed her thoughts aside and looked at her father who had been talking to her, she nodded in agreement and finally smiled.“So you’re crushing on that Jimi right? Seeing him got you so excited and you jumped, wouldn’t that be just odd?” he said to her with a concerned frown, she smiled again and shrugged in agreement, she wanted to shake her head and disagree with her father but that would had only prolonged issues. “Something tells me we would be getting your dress here” her father told her with a smile on his face and he pinched at her left cheek softly. They both went into the store with the glass walls. Patricia looked back for the last time before the shop door closed and right there again the weirdo stood across the street looking straight at her, he made no movement and had no emotions to show.
The shopkeeper had noticed the two of them standing outside the shop for a while and hoped that they might come in to purchase something for the girl but had been worried when she saw how troubled the girl was, the way she looked into the mirror forgetting that she could be seen from within the shop. It looked like the little girl could see something she couldn’t see in her shop and then the scared look and how she had jumped into the man who should probably be her father. She reassured herself that there was nothing scary n her shop when she remembered that no one could see the inside of the shop from outside. She closed her sales book as soon as they stepped into her shop and decided not to take off her reading-glasses, she motioned to the shop attendants that she would attend to the new customers by herself. She kept her eyes on them and caught the girl looking back at something she couldn’t guess just before the door closed. The shopkeeper got up from her seat and headed towards them, she noticed that the girl had lightened up as soon as she surveyed where she had entered and soon a little smile was playing on her lips. “Good day, ma’am, I hope I’m in the right place, I want something special for this young lady here” Mr. Andrews said trying to place his hands on Patricia’s shoulders but she was already out of his reach. “I want a lovely long dinner dress” Patricia said more by herself sounded a little bit excited. The young girl could feel it in her bones that she was at the right place, she began checking the clothes at her reach. The shopkeeper felt better when she heard the girl speak up, at least she was now sure she could deal with them. No salesperson would want to deal with a sad looking kid, you wouldn’t know what to show them to buy or guess what they would like. Mr. Andrews asked for a seat and soon got one, he sat down and looked at all the nice dresses they were surrounded in, he was sure his daughter would fine something breathtaking. The whole shopping idea was beginning to bore him anyway and he was beginning to feel hunger coming up. He relaxed and checked his wristwatch, it was almost four o’clock in the evening. Patricia had found a dress already and it had taken her an extra five minutes, a royal-blue dress, just the dress she must had dreamt about because she fell in love with it almost immediately but she wasn’t so sure about the color anymore. Her father told her to try it on non the less. The dress, a long flowing gown with a high slit that touched her knee, the single arm was a mono-strap design with a large concentrated velvety-blue rose on the neck part. Patricia stepped out of the dressing room and her father smiled. “Gorgeous” was all he could say at that moment, “How much?” he added. Patricia looked at herself in the large shop mirror close to her, the dress was beautiful, it matched her slim tall figure and her chocolate complexion. She felt like she could go to bed without taking it off but the color got her uncomfortable, even though it was the perfect color for the dress, she shook her head and asked again for another color, “Anything but blue” she said to the shopkeeper who replied that it was the last one remaining. Her dad loved the dress, his daughter was almost grown and it made him more aware that she was taking her mother’s looks quickly, he wondered why she didn’t like the color that soothed her so well. He was a patient man and wanted his daughter to love whatever he buys, “She could make her choice” he thought to himself.
Patricia went into the inner part of the store with the shopkeeper again as her father waited patiently. He heard a giggle at something he had no idea of and soon was out with another dress, a white one, a flowing design with specks of shinny stones on it, it was also silted high up to the left knee with tiny straps for the shoulders. His daughter stepped out again in another dress, “A special dress” he thought more to himself, his wife would be proud of both of them if they took it home. Patricia smiled gleefully when she heard her father ask of the price, she showed him the wristband that came with the dress and got happier at her choice even more. “Its not even low cut on the chest” she said more to herself, she knew her mum would love the dress too.
Both father and daughter left the store with a dress case and a pair of ladies’ shoes that day, the dress had cost twenty thousand naira alone and the shoes eight thousand naira, the daughter knew the remaining dressing would be handled by her mother. They headed to a cafeteria at the shopping mall they were in and ordered lunch. Patricia couldn’t stop smiling, “Thank you so much daddy, I love the dress” she says to her father and hugs the case too. “And the shoe too” she quickly added. “Anything for you sweety!” her father had told her with a smile. Now she could barely wait to wear the dress to her dinner party in school, she knew she would wow everyone, at least everyone in her class for a start and her dress would be the best, she could imagine all eyes would be on her that day.
Father and daughter both arrived home just in time to catch the afternoon breaking news, Mrs. Andrews was already seated paying attention to the news, a family had finally been declared missing after a week of searching. “A couple with four kids had not been seen to step out of their home for the past one week. The house had been surveyed by the police and all seemed normal, no packing or unpacking, clothes were still in their closets, dirty dishes left in the sink, some electronics plugged, air-conditioners were left on and running. Notebooks of homework were left on tables of the kids’ rooms. The family had been known to be the friendly type and rarely went to bed on time. It was their loud television which was left on all night that aroused the next-door neighbor to check on them until others started being curious. There was no clue on what might had happened to them. No forced entry or any visual injury fluid have been found within and around the house” the news reporter narrated. Patricia had paid almost no attention, she was anxious to show her mother her dress and pair of shoes. She decided to head to her room to take a shower in hopes that she would have her attention by the time she returned. In the shower she had an uncomfortable bath, she remembered the blue eyes, the black boy with the sharp blue eyes, the continuous stare and soon she felt being watched as she took her bath. She was more grateful she hadn’t bought the blue dress when she placed the white one on a seat in her room. It sat there looking beautiful, eyeing her and waiting to be worn, she went to bed thinking about the look on her classmates’ faces on that day. The blue-eyed boy sat transparently on the seat she had her clothes and watched her almost through the night. Patricia awoke twice at midnight within the hours of 2am and 3am wondering who else was in her room and checking her table-clock afterwards. A thought struck her, there was more chill to the room, she used a fan most nights and her windows were never opened, she wasn’t a fan a air conditioners and was sure she didn’t put hers on moreover she was too lazy to get up. She resumed her sleep soon enough.