She had spent a fortune on that dress.
Yet when she looked at herself in it, she was satisfied. It was a surprise for Him, though not bigger than the surprise which waited for him in his Credit Statement at the end of the month.
She opened the doors and went on towards the party. She wasn’t the center of attention but it was enough that he had seen her from afar. His eyes were glowing when he looked at her. When she finally got to him, he twirled her around and looked at the dress, impressed at her choice. It was a beautiful Emerald Green and Blue dress and her shoulder length hair and petite figure made the dress shine even more than it actually did. She happily showed off her dress to him and he approved of it with a smug look on his face. She shone because he was happy with the dress.
Soon they were separated, in their own little groups, chatting and socializing with friends. Every once in a while she would catch him glancing at her from the corner of his eye, enjoying the sight. After some time, the men went into a different room for drinks and the ladies sat down to enjoy dinner. Everyone complimented her on her dress and many women asked her about it, appalled at the price of the garment. She enjoyed this new attention, though it could never match how he had made her feel. After the dinner, everyone was enjoying dessert when someone came and told her that she was expected on the phone. In her rush to get up and get to the call, she pulled a napkin with herself and a cup of custard tilted and poured itself on her dress. The world froze. There was no phone call, no time, even space had lost it’s meaning for those few moments. There was only a sense of urgency. There was not even a sense of embarrassment as she slowly started crying right there in front of all those ladies. All that mattered was that the dress was ruined.
She rushed to the restroom and tried hard to clear the custard, but it was as adamant as winter in the Arctic. It stuck on, not willing to budge one inch for her sake. She tried and tried and she cried and cried but to no avail. Even her tears could not wipe out the custard now. The Stain remained.
As the party came to an end, the men returned from their seclusion. He looked for her in the crowd but could not see her. His worry eased just a bit when someone told about her getting a phone call. None of the ladies dared to mention about her dress. A few detached from the party and went home. He grew wary now. He wanted to see her, to ensure that she’s safe. Suddenly he saw her walk in from the far end of the room, only, this time her dress was frizzled and wet, a deep patch of water barely hiding a deep stain. He looked at her, worried. She looked at him, a scared look creasing her brows. She came up to him and tried to explain what had happened and how much she had tried to fix it. He listened to her as she explained and inspected the dress when she pointed to it. Then when she stopped and looked at him expectantly, waiting for a chide or a remark from him, her eyes watery with new tears welling up since he had a grim look on his face, he slowly smiled and said – “Don’t worry, it’s only a dress.”
Years later, she loved wearing that dress on every anniversary and loved telling anyone who asked, the story of the dress, the way he proposed to her the same night of the incident and how, after everything she tried, the Stain remained.