LIZBETH AND 1960 AND FRUSTRATION | By: Terry Collett | | Category: Short Story - Family Issues Bookmark and Share


Lizbeth holds the dress against her. It's new, her mother had bought it for her. The cloth is smooth and soft, but she doesn't like it. She looks at the dress in the mirror inside the wardrobe. She puts the dress down on the bed and takes off the dress she is wearing and lets it drop to the floor, kicks it out of the way. She picks the new dress off of the bed and put it on and pulls at the hem to pull it down fully. She twirls, looking at the dress and how it looks as she twirls. The colour's all wrong; the hang of it she loathes. It falls beneath her knees; too far below. She lifts the dress until it comes above her knees. She twirls again. If only Benedict was here, see muses, if only his eyes were here looking beside me. She lifts the dress higher and smiles. Mother would never approve of that length. She lets the dress drop to the given length. Boring. The material is old fashioned, she thinks, fingering it, pulling at the hem. The dress she pointed out to her mother while shopping in Midhurst was shorter and more colourful and didn't have silly bows at the back. Her mother didn't like it. It would make you look like a tart, her mother had said, like one of those tarts on that pop music show prancing around semi-dressed. She hadn't thought her mother had watched the 6.5 Special Show, but she had. She twirls again and looks in the mirror for any saving details of the dress, but there aren't any. The dress is drab and she will not wear it; she'll put it at the back of the wardrobe and forget it's there. She takes it off and lets it fall to the floor and stamps on it, then kicks it away. She sighs and gazes at herself in the mirror in underclothes and bra. Where is Benedict when you want him? She muses, putting her hands on her hips. Probably on the farm; working in the milk sheds weighing the milk or clearing out the cowsheds, as he did on weekends or after school. She had managed to get him to this room once while her parents were out, but it was to no avail and nothing happened. Her mother is downstairs preparing lunch; she can hear the pots and pans being used; a radio playing some classical stuff. She picks up her old dress and puts it back on. The new dress she hangs on a hanger and puts it at the back of her wardrobe and shuts the door. The old dress, black with red flowers, is becoming small and tight. It reaches just above her knees now and her mother said it was not decent to wear any more, but she wears it and loves it, even if it is tight and holds her firm. She walks the length of her room like a model, swaying her hips, hand held aloft, head tilted. She flops onto her bed and throws out her arms and looks at the ceiling. To think she had Benedict here on this bed that time and nothing happened; God how frustrating. There is plenty of time to think of boys, her mother had said, you're just thirteen, why when I was your age I was playing with dolls and skipping with a rope. Lizbeth hadn't played with her dolls for years; her skipping rope was at the bottom of the wardrobe unused. She sits up and looks at her room. The record player is on the floor by the window; an LP of the Everly Brothers in on the turntable; the sleeve is on the floor next to a cup and saucer, partially covered by soiled underclothes. She was a lazy girl, her mother said, too lazy for her own good. Her father(when he was home at all) said nothing much except how far he had travelled and how many orders he had managed to obtain. A girl at school( in a higher class) had given her a book with illustrations about SEX with orders not to let other see it. She had gone through the book umpteen times(mostly gawking at the photos and illustrations) and trying to put into practice what she had read there. The book is at the bottom of the wardrobe in a brown paper bag tied with string( just in case her mother snooped around.) She wants sex with Benedict. She has tried to get him to perform many times, but he is reluctant, makes excuses. She doesn't want other boys. She wants one boy. Benedict. The book has an illustration what the boy has to do and the girl also. She has studied it so many times it is printed on her mind. There is also other illustrations about other things which she finds a bit distasteful. If her mother ever found the book, there would be hell to pay(providing her mother didn't drop with shock). She sighs. Closes her eyes. Embraces herself. Kisses her arms; pretends it is him, his lips kissing. She opens her eyes and stares; he is not there; he is missing.

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