I had been feeling really terrible. Actually, I’d been throwing up every day for three months, and I had long since forgotten why I’d thought it would be a good idea to get pregnant. But that evening, I had to put on a gown and go to a work event. An actual gown. It was twilight blue and clingy without losing elegance, with long sleeves and a cinch at the hip, where a sparkling faux diamond bangle nestled. I had gotten it on sale, during a miraculous day of minimal nausea. I felt ridiculous in it, riding the elevator down to the street to hail a cab. Everyone else was wearing normal clothing, and I was unsure of my thickening body—not obviously pregnant yet, but not my familiar shape.
A woman was looking at me. I looked away.
“What a wonderful dress!” she said.
“Thanks,” I said.
“You look beautiful,” she said.
(I kind of wish I had more occasions to wear a gown… source)
I was smiling when I walked out the door. A twenty-something woman on the street paused as she passed me. “You look amazing!” she said.
“Oh, god, thanks,” I said, awkward and caught off-guard.
“Love the gown!” called another woman as I frantically waved at an approaching cab, running late as always. “Where are you going?”
“A work thing!”
I was queasy in the cab, but I felt awesome. I looked beautiful! I sat up a little straighter. I felt sort of queenly, a little glamorous. I imagined myself for a moment as someone leading a fabulous, high-society life, rushing off to expensive benefits and romantic penthouse soirees. As far as anyone knew, I might be doing those things. A woman in a twilight blue gown might have a life like that.
It’s funny, what a compliment can do.