The shadow hat
by Alice Dommert

It could have been anyone in that white dress.
My face was a shadow under the beautiful wide brimmed hat.
With the white fabric tails.
Blowing in the breeze.
I loved that hat.

The dress was a mistake.
Not the right fabric.
Too light for the October day.
I knew it when I tried it on at my parents’ house,
my mother pinning the sash to the back,
so proud of her sewing skills.

I had that sinking feeling.
We were too far down the road.
If I spoke my truth,
it would come back on me.

I went to sleep,
played it out in my head.
If I told my mother,
she would cry,
call my sister,
tell my father.
I’d be the ungrateful,
selfish one.
I woke up,
told myself the dress would be okay.
I’d love the hat.
The hat would make it okay.
The years slipped by.
My truth slipped away.
I told myself it would be okay.
one day,
it wasn’t.
The shadow of my face,
and my life,
yearned for the light.

If I spoke my truth it would come back on me.
Yet this time there was no choice.
Hiding in the shadow of the hat,
and my life,
was no longer possible.

This was not my path.
I spoke the words.
In an instant it all crumbled.

My truth came back on me.
In beautiful waves,
of tears and light and love,
setting me free.

PHOTO: The shadow hat.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For a while I was making hats, and loved the twenties’ style the most. I imagined my wedding to be a Great Gatsby style kind of experience. But it was on a beach. In New Jersey. In October. I missed the mark on that one. Like much of my early life when I cared about what other people thought. Life has a way of turning you upside down, shaking you so hard your pockets, and heart, empty out completely and then showing you what really matters. Then daring you to speak that. Out loud. This hat story is part of that experience.This is the last image of this hat. I’m now going downstairs to release it. To the dumpster. It feels good.


Alice Dommert
is a storyteller, architect, writer, and wonderer. She checked out too many books at the library when she was a kid and still loves the smell of a bookstore. She has tried a few other hobbies, in between navigating her two fabulous teenagers, and always comes back to curling up with a book to get lost in the world of words. When she is not reading, she’s walking places finding beauty and joy in the mundaneness of life.