• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 03
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Fragment of a Wedding Dress

She thought it was a carrier bag at first; there were plenty of them about. The locals complained that they destroyed the fish; but after the 5p carrier bag charge came in there were fewer of them, at least according to the evening paper. But something about the way it moved didn't look right. She stopped with the noise of slot machines behind her and peered closer. The thing moved more fluidly than a plastic bag - and it came to her that this could be a fragment torn from a dress. She hunkered down to get a better look as the waves danced with it, moving it further towards the underside of the pier where it would probably get caught on one of the rusted iron pillars. They were always talking about renovating the thing; but when push came to shove there was never enough money. You'd have thought the slot machines could pay for a new pier - people seemed to tip enough cash in them every year to pay for a small country.
The fragment of silk - she'd decided it was silk - had moved away from the pier now and was heading out into the water. She decided it was part of a wedding dress. Perhaps the bride had drowned herself; perhaps the groom had taken her sailing and thrown her overboard.
Her mother always did say she had a vivid imagination.
There was a seam in the fabric and she found herself wondering who had sewn it. It looked professional - as far as you could judge - not something made by hand like her sister's wedding dress. That marriage hadn't lasted - and now her own was in trouble. Not that she'd worn white: blue had been her colour of choice; blue silk, a dress made in India and costing a grand total of £40. She could still get into it - just. There was a shout of triumph from behind, followed by a clattering of coins; someone had obviously won on the slot machines. 'Bet they feed it all back in,' she thought grumpily. When she turned back to look at the sea, the fragment had gone. Drowned perhaps. After all, nothing stayed afloat for ever. She turned and walked back to the shore, back to where home lay waiting.