It had felt very important to be properly dressed before leaving the house this morning. Proper decorum had been a vital part of keeping her sane these past few months. Loretta had thought it was odd that the only proper dress Ramona had was tucked away in the back of the closet. Odder still that she not only dressed herself in a pair of trousers she called ‘jeans,’ and a thin blouse, but that she also let her children wear the same things! She held her tongue for politeness’ sake, not wanting to abuse her host, but hoped that wearing the gown would show the children what proper young ladies should be wearing.
When Ramona had been picking her wedding dresses, her mother, a loving but practical woman, had tried to steer her to something sleek and modern. But Ramona had dreamed of her fairy tale wedding her entire life. She hadn’t wanted a wedding dress, she had wanted a wedding gown.
A soft knock on the door broke Loretta from her reverie, followed by the sound of the doorknob turning. She sniffled, and then relief hit her as the door shook in the frame. She had forgotten she had locked it.
As the wine had finally pushed Ramona off to uneasy sleep that night, her last rational thought before dream logic took hold had been, I can’t wait for those few seconds in the morning when I forget all about this.
Loretta retraced her steps of the night. She had supped alone – after Miss Reynolds had deftly turned away dreadful Mrs. Johnson, who seemed to call not to check on Loretta’s welfare but discover if she was ready to admit her husband was dead and have her meet her youngest son, Carroll, and Loretta would reward Miss Reynolds in her weekly pay – and then she had sent Miss Reynolds home for the night. She had tried to sleep, spent some hours tossing and turning, and then had given up entirely. If sleep were to abandon her again, she would rather spend her night staring at the ocean than staring at the top of her bed frame.
It was approaching one in the morning, and like most nights, lately, Ramona was on the rooftop patio of her two-hundred year old coastal Victorian home, sitting in the oversized Adirondack chair her kids had painted, and drinking white wine from the box sitting on the table next to her. Above her were a smattering of stars between oil stain clouds, and a hangnail moon. In front of her was about half a mile of this nothing Maine town and then the never-ending Atlantic, dark and choppy.