Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Happiness dress, book, necklace... for Christmas

I am wishing for all of you for Christmas, that you discover or recognise, because you may always have had it in plain sight, as they say, something that brings you joy or happiness, and that you may keep this source of happiness with you always. For the New Year, may you write the story, or book, or poem that you really want to write, or paint the painting, or sing the song, or dance the dance.

And for those of you who have not read The Happiness Dress, for which I won a Commonwealth Foundation short story award, I am attaching it, hopefully for your reading pleasure. May we all be as sure that we are loved as Carolyne is, and may we also give love.

The Happiness Dress

A parcel came for Carolyne.
“It has lots of pretty stamps on it,” said Carolyne. “Where is it from?”
“From Auntie Inez, Daddy’s other sister in the Caribbean,” said Mummy.
“I wonder what’s in it,” said Carolyne.

Everybody helped Carolyne open the parcel.
“It’s a dress!” exclaimed Carolyne. The dress had bright, red, pink, yellow and orange flowers all over it.
“What a dress!” exclaimed Mummy with a frown.
Grandma sighed. “Inez, has no idea about the clothes people wear here.”
“It’s so wrong,” groaned Auntie Joan.
“Can I try it on?” asked Carolyne.
“Yes,” said Mummy, “but it won’t do”
Carolyne tried on the dress in front of her mirror. She thought she looked like a flower herself – red, pink, yellow and orange.
She showed the others. She turned around and around, and the skirt swirled, red, pink, yellow and orange.
“I like it!” she exclaimed, laughing.
“It won’t do,” said Mummy. “It looks like a market. Too bright!”
“It won’t do,” said Grandma. “It looks like a jungle. Too crowded!”
“It won’t do,” added Auntie Joan. “It looks like a carnival. Too loud!”
“But I like it!” Carolyne declared
Daddy looked up from his newspaper, but he didn’t say anything.
“But where can you wear it?” said Mummy. “Not shopping with me.”
“Not to church with me,” said Grandma.
“Not anywhere with me,” added Auntie Joan. “You could wear it at home.”
“But I want to wear it out. It makes me feel happy,” said Carolyne, and she looked as if she might cry. “At least, it made me feel happy till you all said what you said.”
Then you can wear it out with me,” said Daddy.
“What!” exclaimed Mummy with a frown. “Where to?”
“We are going out for a walk right now,” declared Daddy. “Come, Caroline!” he said, taking her hand.
Carolyne skipped along beside Daddy.
“That’s a pretty dress, Carolyne,” said their neighbour, Mrs. McTavish, looking through her window. “It makes me think of the beautiful flowers in my last garden.”
“That’s a pretty dress, Carolyne,” said Mr. Singh at the grocery shop. “It makes me think of all the wonderful birds and plants in the park near the place where I used to live.”
“That’s a pretty dress, Carolyne,” said Mrs. Thomas at the pastry shop. “It makes me think of having carnival all the time.”
Everywhere people smiled at Carolyne and said, “What a pretty dress!”
When they got home, Daddy said, “We had a great walk!”
“Everybody liked my dress,” said Carolyne. “It made them feel happy too. It’s my happiness dress.”
Grandma sighed. “People say what they don’t mean.”
“All the people?” Carolyne asked.
“Those people don’t know anything,” said Carolyne’s Mummy.
“All the people?” Carolyne asked again.
“They think it’s all right because you are a Caribbean person,” Auntie Joan added.
“But you are the ones from the Caribbean,” said Carolyne. “I was born here, and I like the dress. It’s a happiness dress.”
Daddy smiled and said, “I think Carolyne’s dress is something like your hat with the purple feathers on it, Mother.” Carolyne didn’t know if he liked that hat.
“Or like the lace curtains you bought, dear,” he said to Mummy. Carolyne knew he didn’t like the curtains.
“Like your blue shoes, Joan!” Carolyne knew he didn’t like the blue shoes either.
They all sighed.
Suddenly Carolyne had a thought. She said, “Do you have a happiness anything, Daddy?”
Daddy laughed and said, “You, Carolyne! You are my happiness daughter!”
Carolyne just grinned. She knew that.

© Diane Browne

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