The town of Banitan is in uproar. The town fiesta is in a few days time and all the people are busy with all the preparations. Among the busiest are Mrs. Ramos and her daughter Nica. They have been hunting the entire town of Banitan for the most beautiful dress to buy. As is tradition, the celebration of the town fiesta is held in the last Friday, Saturday and Sunday of May.
Friday night is Music Festival which is usually a singing contest for individuals, duets and groups, Saturday is Barangay Night where everybody can come for a night of dancing and Sunday is Gabi ng Kabataan where all the young people of Banitan are invited to a formal dance. The night is concluded with the awarding of the best gown and the star of the night. For the young people though, the awards meant nothing. All they want is to have fun with their friends.
On Friday, Mrs. Ramos is frantic. They didn’t find anything that satisfied her. Either it is was too long, or too short, too simple or too elaborate, too expensive or too cheap. Finally exhausted by the whole day of searching, she drove home. But as she was about to turn right, she saw from a window the most beautiful dress she’s ever seen in her life. Just by looking at it from a distance, she knew she got to have the dress for Nica. She got off her car and knocked at the house.
She was surprised when the door was opened by a familiar face. But the woman who opened the door was even more surprised to see her.
”Mrs. Ramos! Good evening. What brought you here?” greeted the woman sounding apprehensive to have such a distinguished visitor at such an unlikely hour.
"”Laura… I mean.. Linda? Isn’t it?” finally recognizing the woman who wash their clothes once a week.
“Yes, ma’am, it’s Linda…”
“Oh, thank God, it’s you.. Well, I saw a beautiful dress from your window. I would like to buy it…” said Mrs. Ramos.
Linda seemed confused.
“Dress? What dress? I’m not selling any dress….”
“The white dress. I saw it from my car. And by the looks of it, I know it would fit my daughter, Nica…”
“Oh, you mean THE DRESS.. “ Linda laughed a little after realizing what Mrs. Ramos was referring to. “I’m sorry but it isn’t for sale..”
“What?? What do you mean it isn’t for sale? What are you going to do with it if you don’t sell it?”
“Well… Just like you, I have a teenage daughter, too. I made that dress for my daughter Belen. She would wear it to the Gabi ng Kabataan…”
“But… you’re a laundry woman. You mean to tell me that you will let your daughter go to the same dance that my daughter will go to?” Mrs. Ramos couldn’t believe it.
“Yes. In case you don’t know it, it is open to all the young people of Banitan including laundry women’s daughters..” replied Linda who got suddenly became serious.
“Name your price. I’ll buy it. I want that dress for Nica..”
“I already told you, it’s not for sale..”
“But you can buy a lot of food with the money I would pay you. Come on, sell it to me. It’s just a dance after all, it would be done in just a few hours but the money will last you a while. You don’t need to let Belen go. Or, take my money and buy something simple and less expensive..”
“No, Mrs. Ramos, I’m not selling. Take your money and buy a dress somewhere else..”
“You don’t understand… I want that dress…”
“It’s you who don’t understand, Mrs. Ramos. It’s not for sale…”
“Everything is for sale..”
“Not that dress…”
“Are you serious? You’re going to turn down a lot of money so your daughter could attend a dance that would only last for a few hours, and after that, what? You won’t have anything to eat the following day?”
“Mrs. Ramos. Do you have any idea how long it took me to finish that dress?'”
“Two years… For two years, I buy a ball of thread every time I earn extra money. I’ve bought balls after balls of thread until I finally had enough. Then, I started to crochet chain after chain, stitch after stitch until I’ve finished the entire dress. But it didn’t stop there. I bought beads and sequins from the tips I received from my clients and after a very tiring day, I sew bead after bead and sequin after sequin until I finally came up with the dress you saw from the window. The dress you wanted to buy. Don’t you see, Mrs. Ramos? It’s not the money. It’s the effort I put into that dress which I made for my daughter, so, she could wear it.”
“But I want that dress…” Mrs. Ramos said adamantly…
“Well, then, it’s about time you don’t get what you want..”
Mrs. Ramos looked at Linda and finally realized the other woman was serious about not selling.
“Very well, then, keep the dress. But after the dance, you surely would regret turning down a lot of money..”
“Well, that’s no longer your problem, Mrs. Ramos..”
“It’s not even that pretty anyway. I can buy something way way prettier than that..”
“Good luck on that…”
Then, Mrs. Ramos left and Linda closed the door.
.. to be continued.
(Original story by the blog author. Any similarities with other stories, fiction or otherwise, are purely incidental.)