Rathalla Review Spring 2017

Page 16

The Wedding Dress Daniella Levy It must have been the dress. Every single day for the past five years, Noya had walked past that same display window on her way to the parking lot in downtown Jerusalem. Some days, she would let herself stop and wryly examine the dresses on the headless white mannequins. Enormous upsidedown cupcakes of fluff and lace, to varying degrees of gaudy. True, for the past year she had stopped every day. Ever since that dress went on display. But go inside? Maybe someone had swept past it on the way to fix something and made the soft, shimmering satin drape just so. Whatever it was, that particular day in early November, Noya could not resist the temptation anymore. It was the wedding gown of her dreams and she was going to try it on. A bell clanged somewhere as the glass door swung open, and with it came Noya’s first pang of regret, but it was too late now. She had already been spotted. “Mazal tov! I’m Meirav, how can I assist you?” The sales girl was probably ten years Noya’s junior, a sleek-haired, mocha-skinned brunette with a grin slightly too wide. She had been perched on a stool by the front desk and scaled the roomy wooden-floored entrance in just a few long strides. She was standing too close. Noya was at a loss for words and she felt her cheeks burn. Her wedding ring was burning through her finger. Meirav waited patiently through the awkward pause, and then grinned again. “What do you think of the dresses on display? Anything strike your fancy?” “That one.” Noya managed a high-pitched stutter and a weak gesture towards the gown. “Which?” Meirav swept past her towards the mannequins in the window. “You mean this one?” She was standing next to one of the lacy horrors. “No. That one. The shiny one.” Meirav turned around and gave the


mannequin a once over. “Ah, this one.” A pause. “Hmm. We don’t have any left in the dressing rooms. It’s going out of style, actually.” She glanced back at Noya with a heavily penciled eyebrow arched in disapproval. “We were going to replace this one tomorrow…” “So take it off the mannequin. I want that one.” Both Meirav and Noya were a little taken aback at her boldness. Meirav recovered quickly and put on her grin. “Of course. Would you like to wait here or in the dressing room?” Meirav hovered over Noya as she tried to undress, chattering about the cleaning lady who was supposed to come yesterday and do this room properly but her uncle’s car was stoned in East Jerusalem by some Arab schoolkids and his elbow was fractured and she had to go fight with his doctors about his treatment and who lets those kids roam around throwing rocks at 10 in the morning anyway, couldn’t they tell he was an Arab himself? Noya was only half-listening as she tossed her shirt and slacks aside and stepped into the dress. “You’ll want that bra off for the full effect, sweetie,” Meirav added, drawing an imaginary neckline over her own chest, and that was when she saw the scar. Noya could tell, because she saw through the floor-to-ceiling mirrors that Meirav quickly averted her eyes downward and cleared her throat as Noya drew the dress up, covering it. “So!” Meirav chirped. “When’s the big day?” Obviously, Noya had not thought this part through. Well, she hadn’t thought any of it through. She didn’t even really know what she was doing there. She was about to confess this, or make up an excuse to get out of there, but then she looked up at her reflection. At the way the satin cascaded about her hips. At the dainty rosette on her right side and the lacy panel that opened up from that point underneath the satin, spreading as it fell to the floor. At the gathered lace pleats that spread diagonally up

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