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Beth stood at the cafe window looking out onto the busy street. Her future was looking bleak. Maybe the dress would make things better. The pretty, yellow, rockabilly dress in the window of the shop across the road.

For weeks, Beth had spent most of her working days looking out of the window at the dress. She had had nothing much else to do; not since the new Costa has opened down the road taking away her customers. Even her boyfriend (sorry, ex-boyfriend now he has decided he wants a bit more glamour and vibrancy his life) has fallen for Costa’s puffery. Today, after months of saving, the dress would be hers.

After Beth had closed the café for the day, as she reached the door of the dress shop, the owner smiled at her through the window. She smiled at her as she climbed into the window display. She smiled at her as she removed the yellow dress.

Beth entered the shop and the owner smiled at her as she gave the dress to the haughty-looking woman at the counter.

“That’s my dress.”

“Pardon?” The owner turned to Beth.

“That dress, it’s mine.”

“I’m sorry madam, this lady has bought it.”

“But it’s mine. I have the money here.”

Beth slammed her hand hard on the counter as the woman walked out with her dress. How could she? She wouldn’t even suit yellow.

Back at work the next morning, Beth looked out at the sober shift dress now in the window across the road.

“A black Americano please.”

Beth hadn’t noticed the customer come in.

“Sorry, I’m daydreaming as usual. Regular or large?”

“Regular, please. Do you know what’s happening out there?”

“No, I haven’t heard anything.”

“The alley leading to York Street is cordoned off and police are everywhere. Sounds serious.”

“Oh, I’ll have to watch the news later. That’s one pound eighty please.”

“Here, keep the change. That’s a lovely dress by the way; yellow suits you.”

Flash Fiction by Samantha Nicholls
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Published in Winter 2017


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