Violet Ambrose, the heroine of Kim Derting’s books, The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead, is a teenager with the macabre ability to find corpses. When Kim herself was a high schooler, she was just trying to find that perfect dress … and confront the affections of a boy with questionable facial hair.
For my junior year Homecoming dance, I wore a dress that my mom made. Yeah, that’s right, a homemade dress. It sounds terrible when you say it that way, so let me try to explain.
I had this vision of what I wanted my dream dress to be. It would be magical, like a sweet confection spun from wishes and glitter and unicorn tears. It would be so breathtaking, in fact, that every boy at the dance would momentarily forget about his date, focusing solely on my loveliness. Every girl would turn green with envy, cursing her own pitiful dress choice.
Shockingly, this was an extremely tall order for our local J.C. Penney. After hours spent scouring the store (yes, you heard me right, we searched for hours!) my mom finally turned to me and said those fateful words: “You know, I could make your dress.”
We went to the fabric store, where we handpicked the dress pattern and searched through bolt after bolt of fabric until we’d found the perfect one. I became a taskmaster, hovering over her shoulder as she cut and pinned, worrying over each stitch, critiquing each and every gather. I cried when I thought she was ruining it. I rejoiced when she told me, at last, that it was finished, and I finally stepped into the pink taffeta creation and she pulled the zipper closed.
It fit like … well, like a perfectly tailored dress.
It was everything I’d dreamed of. Dusty rose taffeta and puffy sleeves and a waistline that felt like I was being hugged by angels. She even had my shoes dyed to match. I felt like Cinderella, and my mom was my fairy godmother.
The night of the dance wasn’t quite what I’d imagined. I felt beautiful, but the boys weren’t exactly shoving their dates to the ground in an effort to get a peek at me as I swept through the doors. But, hey, as you can see from the picture, I did get a “What’s going on, Kim?” from Chadd C., while my date stood back and watched. I bet Cinderella never got that!