The room pulsed with clothes. Dresses with full skirts and taffeta swung from coat hangers; checked shirts peeked out from railings placed around the room; lacy underwear spilled and surged from drawers; socks with ruffles littered the floor; vintage headscarves draped themselves across a wooden desk in the corner. The floor itself, covered in a black-and-white squared carpet, was almost visible, its monochrome tones setting off the vibrant clothing. Bracelets and necklaces were scattered here and there like shells on a beach.
She had broken up with her boyfriend several days earlier and needed somewhere to stay. Rochelle, with her swoop of dyed hair and her piercing like a freckle, had offered her floor space in her room while she looked for a new flat; Amber had happily acquiesced. Now she looked around her at the clothes that seemed to leap around the room, filling each inch of space, and wondered where her air mattress would fit in.
That night, she lay listening to Rochelle’s soft snuffling. She felt as if she were adrift on a vast sea, one made up of silk and cotton, polyester and leather. Waves of denim rolled towards her. She imagined how her former boyfriend would be sleeping alone in their large bed, his body spread-eagled, rising and falling with the curves of sleep. A single tear squeezed itself from her eye, tipped onto the mattress, and settled on the layers of fabric surrounding her. She heard a stirring, a ruffling. Gentle creasings of sound found their way to her ears, and she opened her eyes. A column of socks was marching her way: grey, green, polka dot, striped, darned, knitted, fluffy. She rubbed her eyes, opened them wider, and saw trouser legs sliding across the floor. A polo neck jumper raised itself up inquisitively, before turning in her direction and pulling itself forward with its woollen arms. She heard a clink clink clink as earrings tip-toed across the room. Finally, the taffeta dresses rose up to their full heights and devoured her.