The Girl in the Red Dress by Daniel J Collins
Visit Daniel J Collins's page

She had left the dance early. It had not gone as she had planned. The red dress did attract his attention, but that attention did not turn to be what she thought it would be. Her red lipstick, the same shade as the dress, was smeared across her cheek from his drunken kisss. If kiss you could call it. It was more akin to an oral mauling of teeth and tongue.

She walked into the forest behind the school. The nearly full moon was sufficient for her to avoid any obvious pitfalls but she couldn’t walk through the early fall undergrowth with her heels, red of course to match the dress. “What was I thinking?” she asked herself as she carried the pumps in her hand and steadied her self on a tree with the other hand, stepping over a felled log. Why had she wanted his attention so bad? There wasn’t much to him when you thought about it, but everyone wanted him and she wanted for once to be on the other side of that equation. And for a few minutes, she was.

The summer had kind to her biologically and she had filled in in the ways that boys liked and she desired. When she saw herself in the dressing room mirror, fitting the dress the way it wanted to be fitted, she finally saw someone else in the mirror than who she always saw before, who wasn’t seen by much of anyone. When she had walked into the dance, she felt the eyes on her and loved it. The lust from some, the envy from others, and especially the hate from the few who were used to being looked at felt the best. Then he saw her and she knew that this was the moment that she was going to remember for the rest of her life. He simply walked away from one whose hating eyes caused him to look in the first place.


It was stunning now that she was rerunning the night through her head that the one word and nod of his head was enough to get her to follow him onto the dance floor. His breath was tinged with the sour smell of alcohol, mostly likely drunk in the parking lot of the school before coming into the gym. She remembered forcing herself to ignore that smell as it was in conflict with what she imagined when she had walked into the gym and past the eyes of the ASB girls who took her five dollars in exchange for a ticket. She also forced herself to ignore the rough of his poorly grown-in stubble against her cheek as he pulled her close. Up close, it wasn’t as nearly as manly as it had looked in 3rd period math today, across the room. His attempt at dancing consisted mostly of pulling her in quickly, smashing her chest against his and breathing right into her ear while his hands paused only for a moment on the small of her back before traveling lower. His grip caused her to draw in a breath in surprise which allowed for another sample of his breath, the smell now mixed with a combination of sweat and cologne in equal amounts.

She pulled her arms out from between his sides and arms which had been caught there awkwardly by his quick embrace and put them around his neck. Her hope was that her elbows resting on his chest would force a little breathing room but he read a different message in the movement and leaned in to kiss her before she could react. Her mouth was slightly open as she was about to speak but his tongue filled her mouth before she could say anything. The taste of his pre-dance libations overwhelmed her senses and she attempted to pull back from him. As he had already drawn her right up against him, she had nowhere to go and he continued to drag his mouth across hers. Her savior was a gagging cough that she could not suppress and he jerked his head back.

“What the hell?‘

“Um. I’m sorry.” She said, taking the opportunity to back up and wipe some saliva from the side of her mouth. He looked back to the girl he had walked away from when she had walked in and the song they were dancing to came to and end.

“Yeah, whatever.”

He walked away and left her there as the next song began, another boy nearly landing on her as he jumped to the change in tempo.


He said with a look over his shoulder.


She said as she walked off the floor to the table with the punch bowl and plastic glasses. She looked his direction as the girl who had murdered her with her eyes during the last song burst out laughing, making sure to make eye contact with her. He has said something in the girl’s ear and nodded his head her direction.

She stayed for two more songs so it would not be obvious that she was leaving because of him. But she was sure everyone knew anyways.

The path through the trees lead to a makeshift bridge over the small stream that separated her neighborhood from the back of the school. At this point the stream wasn’t quite knee-deep but still cold enough to make the balancing-act across the the fallen tree worth it. She stopped halfway and sat down on the tree, her feet dangling a few inches above the stream. The moon reflected brightly on the water and filled the gap in the trees with a blue-ish white light. She looked down at the dress she was wearing. Sitting down on the tree was not easy despite its width due to the tightness and high hemline of the dress. It was pulled up well above her knees and forced her legs together. There wasn’t one thing in her closet remotely like this. The same was true for her matching shoes. She owned heels but these were something else entirely. She felt like she had been walking on her toes and her calfs had begun to cramp until she had taken them off to walk in the dirt. She guessed it would become easier over time, but she was starting to wonder if she wanted it to become easier. Seeing her legs pressed together by the dress made her think of meat shrink-wrapped in the cooler at the store where her father was the manager. She looked back at the shoes where she had set them next to her on the tree. She slowly brought her hand up behind the shoes and pushed them into the water. They bobbed a bit as the stream took them away. It felt good to see them go. She got back to her feet and reached behind her back to pull down the zipper of the dress. She then pulled the dress over her head and without pause, tossed it into the water. It floated away quickly but she did not watch it go as she continued on her way home in her underwear, barefoot and not caring who saw her.