The label is long gone, but the dress, if I remember my surprise accurately, was made from acetate. Plucked from the rail of a Wakefield charity shop, paid for with a precious £5 note. The dark silver reminded me of Great-Gran’s gunmetal broach. Made its one formal debut; ankle length old school glamour; at the college ball.
Performance being an integral part of life’s creative experiment during these college years, toying with ideas of invisible theatre, I became a Sequin Sister, an impromptu dancing double act liable to pop up on any available platform and promote the joys of spontaneity.
There were, it being a double act, at least two of us. Capability F Sequin, named after the landscaper, the initial F representing a family name. And me… indecisive, unnamed. Until Girl, not quite school age, holds up a new teddy, and this one, she says, is called Silver Betty. Such serendipity! I even possess a silver dress. Being limited with skills and patience, the dress is roughly crafted into a costume: chopped, spray-painted, sequins sewn with clumsy stitches that hold for over two decades.
It gains its own revered status: an icon of fun, for a succession of events by a succession of people, pulled from the dressing up box, paraded and infectious. Slippery acetate is threaded with the sweat and glory of some fine razzle-dazzling. After twenty years it would be discomfiting, a kind of disloyalty, to let it go.
Face a stark reality: it hasn’t been worn in a while.
Release a sorrowful out-breath. It seems to have gotten smaller, over the years: not small enough to fit into the new neat little cottage. I shouldn’t need this object, when the inspiration is stitched into the fabric of my being. In a fit of sharp bravery it is thrown to the heap of recycling. Goodbye, venerated silver dress. I will always dance like I am wearing you.