“Remember to be careful up there Katie! Watch where you’re stepping, I’d rather not have you falling through my bedroom ceiling,” My mother said as I was pulling down the ladders for entry into her attic. I rolled my eyes and nodded in acknowledgement that I will try not to destroy my parents’ house on my adventure into the attic. I haven’t been in the attic since I moved back here five years ago, there hasn’t been a requirement to go rummaging around for junk until now. Today is moving day; I finally bought my first home and now I have to venture up into the darkness. I put my foot onto the ladder, hiked up my jeans as not to trip on them and made my way slowly into the unknown. As I climbed gingerly into the cramped space I felt the heat on my face instantly. It was a warm summer’s day in July and my parents’ have their attic insulated. As I found my footing, dust particles began to scratch my throat as I coughed slightly. I removed my sweatshirt and threw it down the hole in the floor I’d just emerged from and hit my father directly on the head.
“Bullseye!” I laughed. This place was filled to the brim. Boxes with my name on it; Katie’s toys, Katie’s yearbooks, Katie’s costumes. My mother really kept it all. There was a massive box at the very back of the attic with no writing on it. The box was covered in a thick layer of dust, untouched. Curious, I held my breath as I squeezed between my prom dress and my tutus to make my way to the unnamed box. As I wiped away the dust and began to open the box, my blood ran cold. My heart rate quickened; faster and faster until my head began spinning. My heart then dropped to the pit of my stomach. My hands were shaking as I ripped open the cello- tape keeping it closed to reveal my wedding dress. A wedding that never took place. The dress was exactly how I remembered it; sweetheart neck line, the bodice covered in sparkles with a huge princess skirt. My veil was there too; long, too long for a petite woman like me but the sales girl talked me into buying it. As I unzipped the dress bag to reveal these items. I sank into the floor. Sweating but cold. Dizzy but steady. I locked this memory away for five years and now here it was, sitting in my mother’s attic, mocking me.
Five years ago, I was an excited bride; I lived, breathed and thought about my wedding constantly. I strutted into Forever After Bridal Boutique on that fateful day with such joyfulness, it makes me sick thinking about the aftermath.
“Tell me dear, what kind of dress as you looking for?” The middle aged bridal assistant asked as her head bobbed up and down as I literally could not stop jumping around with sheer excitement.
“A princess!” I replied like a child. “I want to look like something from a Disney movie!” When the bridal assistant pulled this dress from the rail, I was sold instantly. I tried on my dress for the first time; it fit like a glove, as if it was made for Katie. I twirled, pranced, ran, danced and stared at myself in the full length mirror until the bridal assistant said, “Are you saying yes to the dress dear?” I did say yes. I purchased the dress and accessories right there and then with the help of my parents. I left the store that day with the dress in the box, the same box I was staring at now.
As I rushed home tell my fiancé I had found the perfect dress, I found another box. Then another. Out on the street. My fiancé had kicked me out of the home and life we shared for another woman. With no heart left as it was shattered into pieces right there on the street, I loaded box after box into my old Toyota and headed for my parents’ house. The dress was still as beautiful as it was five years ago as I spread my fingers across the fabric, I let my mind wander to what could have been when I heard a familiar voice.
“Honey? Are you okay up there?” Tom’s soft voice echoed into the attic.
“Yes I’ll be down in a second,” I replied as I snapped out of my daydream shaking my head slightly. I taped the box containing the wedding that never was back up and slowly made my way to the attic opening. Tom was waiting with outstretched arms to catch the box.
“Is this more towels? Surely we have enough?” He said, hopeful. I smiled and shook my head. I wrote FOR SALE on the box as Tom kissed me on the forehead. The box contained my past but it was not coming with me into my future.