Like the way renowned pianists are accustomed with the parts of the piano, I am here tracing the shape and physique of your body. Every measure has to be accurate–no more, no less–for the outcome to be perfect. I carefully and earnestly study your shoulders, your boobs, your hips, your belly. There’s no denying it: this is what I love.
Onto the next phase, where everything should follow your design. Your desires. Will this truly satisfy you? Do you want to feel reborn? Do you want to be significant enough? Will I be able to signify your part successfully? In this case, we have to work together to both meet our ends, our pleasures.
We make small talk here and there to make up for the uneasy silence that embraces us around this room. “Is it too tight?” I ask you politely when you suddenly look like you’re out of breath. The top half of your boobs and cleavage are showing and have droplets of sweat on them due to the summer heat, but I don’t mind that. You smile timidly and tell me, “I’m alright.” It doesn’t reassure me quite enough, so I adjust just in case you feel a little out of place.
“There’s no reason to be anxious,” I advise to you lightly after you share with me your thoughts: how ecstatic you are that it happened, how scared and nervous you are of what will happen next, how you want to have kids after. “Really?” you retort and then hold my hand gracefully, an expression of your gratitude of my being there. I mean, of course? How can I not be?
We are done for the day and we both start packing up and fixing our respective paraphernalia. I felt a wave of accomplishment because I see the way your eyes shimmer like the lights of this space we are in together, the ease that appears in your face, portraying exactly this: you are truly, madly happy.
“We’ll see each other again, right?” she cheekily says and leaves.
As I hear the various narratives and stories of the contented, happy couples–or in the sense of business–the happy customers, I am always left with two things: one’s a strange, electric pang that goes through my heart and chest, and the other a tremendous sense of fulfillment. Sometimes, those two duel on which should I feel more; the feeling of emptiness or of satisfaction. When my brain chooses the former, I remember my ex-husband and the lingering sensation of him abusing me while were still married. That sensation haunts me from time to time. In retrospect, I expected too much about having the flawless, ones-you-see-on-TV marriage.
Nowadays, the latter feeling overwhelms me. And when it does, I cling onto it like it’s my remaining lifeline. Remember when I said that there’s no denying that I love this? Indeed. I love my job as a modiste. Years after I abandoned the married life due to his abusive behaviors, I took this life that I currently have now.
I am the modiste that soon-to-be husband and wife run off to for their wedding needs. Getting them as customers still makes me giddy, but nonetheless I’m grateful to hear their exciting individual stories about their engagements. I never tell my customers anything about life outside my profession and I tend to keep it that way. No negativity shall reign on them after getting their hearts’ delight. Whether their marriages will end in chaos just like mine did or be their source of bliss, contentment, and feeling of home, is matter-of-factly, out of my control.
As I leave for one of my customers’ wedding–yes, we will see each other again–I ponder if some people think I’m secretly envious of them auspiciously finding loving husbands because I failed to do so in the past; but no. It is what it is. I am going to remind myself every now and then that I was a reason, a bridge, a path that made their wedding elegant and beautiful; to their eyes or to the eyes of the ones they both love.
“The Buried Past As I Work”