My name is Siobhan Roberts and there was once a time when I had a love affair with dresses.
It began a number of years ago when I was at the tender age of six. It was an unusually warm day and both my sister and I were going sightseeing at Eastham Ferry with our grandparents. I remember being thankful that my mother had dressed me in light cotton layers and no doubt my sister was too. Draped from head-to-toe in hot pink, the only colour separation was a frilly white vest that was slightly visible around the neck of the garment and the detailing of white 3D flowers embroidered from the waist down. Placed upon my feet were my favourite equally pink Barbie sandals. I wore them everywhere; no adventure was complete without them.
We spent the day watching ships sail by and pointing at seagulls flying a little too low for comfort while taking important breaks to enjoy a picnic and play at a park situated not far from the dock. We ate ice-cream and chased squirrels before taking a scenic route back to the car through the woods. Following the public access path, it wasn’t long before we were back home, tucked up in bed ready and waiting for whatever the next day had in store for us.
Sadly, my grandfather and I would share no other outings. In the months that followed he grew ill and progressively got worse. At the time, I didn’t have a full understanding of what was happening.
I was aware he was sick but I had always assumed he would get better. Late one night, my mother ran upstairs calling my siblings and me to the landing so that we could talk to our grandfather on the phone. We were each told to say goodbye down the line, that grandad was going now but not to worry because he could hear us. Holding the phone, I did as I was told. Expecting to hear his cheerful voice I instead was greeted with the sound of slow, heavy breathing. It was clear he was exhausted, his battle drawing to a close. Two hours later, he had passed.
Nowadays, I am not really one for wearing dresses. It’s not that I despise wearing them, I just don’t feel comfortable; I don’t feel I look right. For me, I see my relationship with dresses similar to that of Romeo and Juliet: a nice thought, but a tragedy in reality.
Whilst I no longer own the dress I wore on that day trip, it will always be sentimental to me. When I think of the garment I do not feel sad but comforted by the fact that I have a memory that can transport me back to that special day spent with loved ones at Eastham Ferry and fill a hole that no photograph can.
My name is Siobhan Roberts and I am no longer a lover of dresses, but I am thankful for them.