I died in 1814. I continue to occupy my body, but my soul is gone. My soul is buried in the cold ground with the rest of my family, on a plantation in Virginia. My body now lives in New York, even though my life had ended, time continued on as if nothing had happened. I know I have mentioned this before. My life has been on repeat since that cold January day.
My shoe has a bit of dust across the toe, yet I do not care. For a moment, I am lost my mind.
“Are you alright Miss?”
“Yes, I am fine, Sir, thank you.” Getting lost in your mind on a public street seems to baffle others. I do not care anymore. I better close my parasol. It would be disrespectful for a proper lady to enter Mr. Mercantile’s shop with an open parasol.
The shop is lined with fabrics of cotton, silk, satin, and lace. There is even detailed beading. I touch the velvet blue fabric with the tips of my gloved fingers. The fabric is soft and gentle.
“Like the fur on a rabbit. I love this blue on you, Virginia. The color brings out your dark features.”
“Can I help you Miss?”
“Yes, I need to order the blue satin fabric, three rolls and a roll of the white lace.”
“Not the velvet?”
“No, I already have a velvet dress.”
“I will wrap it up.”
I had been asleep in my mind again. I love remembering mama. I worry a day will come when I can’t remember.
“May I inquire what you are using this fine fabric for?”
Of course there is a nosy wife! Always wanting to know others’ business, “It is for a dress.”
“Oh my, what is the occasion?”
“Don’t look shocked young lady, I told you to wait for me.”
“You were so slow I was giddy with excitement. Please forgive me.”
“You came straight here.”
“Alright, don’t let in happen again.”
“Miss, your fabric is ready.”
“Let me take a look…very beautiful and fine.”
My uncle chats up Mr. Mercantile and pays. Mrs. Mercantile is gossiping with the ladies that recently walked through the door. Now was my chance. I opened the fabric. I slipped the paper softly between two sheets of fabric. I set the one with the note aside.
“Wait Uncle, I was over zealous, two rolls will be plenty.”
“Are you sure Virginia?”
“Yes.” I gently grasp my uncle’s arm. The signal is sent. I stand here looking like a proper young lady. I am playing a part. Another couple browses the fabric. I act like I have never seen him before in my life. We are strangers trapped in a square surrounded by the world’s finest fabrics. It is a time of treachery and deceit. We all are playing a role, British and American, right and wrong, and then there is me.
“Mr. Mercantile please send the fabric to Mrs. Kempshaw. She is making the gown for Miss Virginia.”
“Of course, Sir.”
“If you don’t mind I would like to purchase that roll of fine fabric,” said a short man will perfectly round spectacles.
“Well of course, Sir.”
“On closer examination, the color isn’t what I am looking for, good day.”
He got the note. I step back through the door and open my parasol into the crisp air.
“It is a delightful day.”
“Yes it is Uncle, shall we walk for a bit?”
“Well of course Virginia.”
“Thank you for my dress.”
“You will be the finest looking lady in all of New York.”
I smile…I have far greater things planned for that ball. I need the dress for my part. We are all playing a role in this game called life.