Elvis and Me

Elvis is on the Television and I am dancing for him, I am seven years old. I am wearing something from my dress up box- a postbox red suitcase stuffed with my mother’s old clothes. My favourite is the pink chiffon negligee, it's see through and dotted with tiny embroidered deers. They are galloping down to the hemline getting their hooves tangled in the lace. I slip it over my summer dress, not wanting to reveal my bony body to Elvis. I sway my hips and press my face to the television set. My mother sometimes watches from the living room doorway. She is wearing her plastic orange apron with French bra and knickers painted on. It is splashed with spaghetti stains, our only venture into non English cuisine. 

“You know he can’t see you don’t you? You know Elvis is dead, don’t you Claire?”

But I know Elvis can see me. I know he can see my shimmering beauty. That he is impressed by my ballet work, my growing feet forced into my sister’s old dance shoes, palmolive soap still crushed on the sole. Bruised toes squashed in satin will not dim his love for me.

I dream of him at night, and wonder why I wake up with a funny feeling in between my legs. I dream he will marry me. I don't care if he is dead I will just climb into the TV version of him and everything will be okay. I know that whilst wearing the deer nightie I transform into a princess. I pull my golden hair down and it swishes across my back. 

On the school trip to see the farm, Ian Leech tells me I have froggy eyes, and elbows like snooker cues. He points out the 3 freckles on my nose and says "ugh."

I stop dancing for Elvis, I poke at my face in the mirror. I present my face with an apology from now on.


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