The Yellow Dress

The Yellow dress

Growing up, I had this yellow dress. It was made of chiffon, it had tiny pleats from the waist down and it had its own yellow coat. I loved that dress. It was my Sunday best (every African child had a Sunday best clothes, it didn’t matter how you poor or rich you were. Sunday meant wearing a pretty dress or the little shiny or corduroy suits that come complete with a bow-tie and half-coat)

I loved that dress too much.  The thought of wearing it excited me.  I don’t know what effect it had, but once I wore it, I felt like the most beautiful girl on earth. I would be vibrant; I would smile at every being. I would always make sure I was the first or last to give out offering when I was wearing my yellow dress just so that everyone would see me.  I felt like a princess in that dress. Vanity much

Now I loved this dress so much that every Sunday, or when we were going out as a family, I would insist on wearing it. For some time, I got away with it. Till my sister noticed that I was only in that yellow dress in the family pictures. I remember receiving a very lengthy “you want people to think I don’t buy you clothes?” lecture.  I didn’t quite understand why she was being overly sensitive about me wanting to wear that dress all the time. Why was it so hard to make her and the house help believe that I had no cheeky intentions for wanting to wear that dress?

After that, my dress mysteriously disappeared and I searched frantically for it. Everyone feigned shock and they even helped me search for it. After several days of searching in the house, we all concluded that it might have been stolen from the clothing lines (though it was hard to believe that a thief would single out just one dress from a several lines of laundry). I remember weeping for that dress. No other dress felt the same. I didn’t feel pretty in any of them.  None had the effect that my yellow dress. And the betrayal I felt several years later when I found out that my dress had been given out to one our neighbours back in the village was inexplicable.

When you’re a kid, a loss however small seems drastic. Your fears magnify it even further. Then something better comes along and you move on so fast you even forget you had lost something in the first place.

Well, that’s what exactly what happened. I got bought for another a white dress that was so beautiful, I was afraid of wearing it the first few months for fear that it would be ruined.  I literally used to glow in this one. I adored it. The yellow dress was forgotten like it never even existed. I somehow felt like I was cheating, a little bit of guilt, but at the moment I simply didn’t care.


Every time I look at my family album, I see the evidence of my various phases of my dress-evolution and I can’t help but to relate it with life.

At some point in life, you’re in a relationship or a friendship that you swear by god will last a lifetime. Then for some reason or other, things fall apart; drifting apart happens, break ups. You are pained. You feel as if someone ripped out your very heart when they happen. And you weep. You think nothing could ever fill the void that was left.

Well, darling, nothing is irreplaceable. In fact, better things come along most of the time. He left you? Well, some other man that’s best suited for you will find you. She dumped you? She was toxic for you any way; you will find the right woman sooner or later. It doesn’t matter that your friends left, or that you left them.

Nothing is ever really permanent and you shouldn’t beat yourself over things beyond your control. At times, you’re better off letting fate prevail.

Your white dress will come.  Healing will come through. Newer friendships will sprout. Better relationships will arise. Let go. Free thyself.

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