You sat for hours days on end for that painting, ma’am. It’s terribly strange you can’t remember. Do you remember the gold, actual gold, he draped you in? Nothing at all? Not the first memory? So strange, and sad, if you don’t mind my saying.
At least you should remember that gold, how it shined. It seemed to make the mop water brighter, better. It seemed to drip like wine from end of the mop. And this old dress even seemed beautiful in its light. You were radiant, ma’am, and you don’t have so much as a single moment of recollection.
Now that I consider it, you were pale and even more pallid now. Maybe a walk would do you good. We should go to the garden. You could stand beneath the peach tree you love so much. Fresh air and peach trees and flowers.
Where is the dress, ma’am? I should like to show it to my daughter when she finishes her work for the day. Not until then, mind you. He would never have that. We are not paid and given food and shelter and clothing to prance around in gold dresses.
But, if we were, we would remember it. So pale, white as a sheet, if you don’t mind me saying. And if you do, I don’t see much of anything you could do about it now.
Where is the dress, so I can show it to my Madeline? I know you will tell me, you ungrateful, weak woman. And if you don’t, then I will let you die here on this crumpled bed and be done with you.
Do you know what it’s like to see gold shimmering up at you from mop water? Of course you don’t. But you know what pain is. We all feel pain. That broken wrist of yours. It is nothing when compared to seeing your child stooped for all of her walking years, her little hands faded and wrinkled as dish towels.
So, I ask again – where is my Madeline’s dress? If you don’t mind my asking, ma’am.