Giselle is at her last fitting for her last dress.
Her mother sits behind her as she stands barefoot on the carpeted box, her feet on the spaces where she can feel so many feet have been before. The spots where the carpet has been stamped down into sweaty satin footpads, much larger than she needs. And although her toes would like to explore this space, she must be still.
"Stand up straight, mademoiselle," the tailor says.
Giselle does. She keeps her eyes locked forward, trying to imagine what this will look like to everyone else. Trying to imagine what the final effect will be. Right now she is dotted in pins that look like stars. Right now this blue dress (so blue it makes her eyes hurt to look at it, so blue she could get lost in it, so blue it reminds her of Disney World skies) isn't finished, but when it will be finished, it will be amazing.
"Please hold still, mademoiselle," the tailor says.
"Sorry," Giselle says. "Just sorry."
"That's good Giselle," Giselle's mother says.
When she wears the dress, she will have gloves on. White gloves, elbow length, satin like in Cinderella. She won't have shoes on because no one will see her feet, but she imagines herself in glass slippers. She imagines Francis Holland picking one up as she dashes out the gym, his cracking voice hitting the high note on the "i" of her name as he calls after her, and then him raising his hand in a goodbye wave.
But that won't happen. When she’s wearing this dress she won’t be able to see Francis Holland at all. If he even shows up.
"Does mademoiselle think crinoline, for under the skirt?"
"No," Giselle says.
"No," Giselle's mother says. "It won't fit in the coffin."
"Ah," the tailor says. "Of course."
Giselle scratches under her wig, making some of the pins touch her skin and point at tiny places of pain to remind her that she is still alive, reminding her that this is part of what life is about, that it's all not about dying and preparing to die.
"The crown, mademoiselle?"
"Yes please," Giselle says, the excitement eking out of her voice in a shiver.
The crown is silver. It is dotted with stones that look like diamonds and shine like diamonds but it doesn't matter that they aren't diamonds because they are so beautiful that all that excitement Giselle had bursts out of her in sobs. She collapses in on herself. In on all those pins that remind her she is still alive. In on that wide expanse of Disney World blue. In on her wig, in on her tiny tiny arms, in on that carpeted box. In and in and in until her mother swoops in, too, and rescues her.
© Jordan Kurella, 2017