I tried on the nightgown. It was pure white with shiny ribbons that tied into thin bows at my wrists, under my chest. It flowed down from the ribbon to my toes in one beautiful sweep. My mother came into the cubicle and fixed the open neck on me. “You know Freidy,” she said, “this nightgown is a special nightgown. You wear it only when you’re clean for your husband.”
I didn’t say anything. I knew where this was going. I didn’t discuss things like these with my mother. It was related to the secrets. Only friends and siblings talked about this, in prolonged conversations with Roisy, or once upon a time with Shaina, at the parting points to our homes.
“You’ll go to Mrs. Steinmetz for your bride’s lessons. She’ll tell you what it is to be clean.”