The Catwalk

Shutterstock © Illustration of models in dresses on a catwalk for uplifting short story The Catwalk


In this uplifting short story, were Sarah’s dreams bright enough to inspire both herself and Jack?

Sarah peered through a gap in the stage curtains, her heart beating faster than the iconic eighties tune bursting into the exhibition room.

Rows of excited onlookers flanked both sides of the fashion catwalk, photographers’ flash bulbs casting strobe lighting over models as they strutted down the runway showcasing local designers’ creations.

As her first model took to the stage in an elegant office outfit, Sarah held her breath. This was it; the moment she’d discover if dreams really could become reality.

Sarah slid the laptop across so that her boyfriend, Jack, could view the details on the website. He looked at her, eyebrows hooking into question marks.

“But you’re a secretary; they type stuff and organise things.”

The corners of Sarah’s mouth turned up. “I know what a secretary does. I’ve been one for ten years. And now I want to try something new.”

“But fashion design? Aren’t you supposed to be all arty and out-there to do that sort of thing?”

Sarah bit her lip; she’d been hoping for a little more support from Jack over this. Though, to be fair to him, she had kept all the garment designs she’d been scribbling in her sketchbook a secret for months, adding to them only when Jack had gone out with friends, or been occupied on his computer games.

She’d felt embarrassed of having this dream of being a fashion designer, doubt always whispering in her ear. As if anyone like her could ever make it… at her age.

Maybe Jack was right. Maybe she should leave it to the ones who really stood out from the crowd, not faded into the bland office background every day.

Sarah flipped the laptop lid shut, trying to hide her disappointment at his reaction.

“It was only an evening course at the local university,” she half-laughed. “I wasn’t about to quit my job or anything. But it was a silly idea. Just me getting caught up in all that ‘new year new starts’ stuff. Forget I even mentioned it.”

Jack stared after her as Sarah shrugged on her running jacket and disappeared out of the front door for her usual weekend jog around the park and coffee with her friends. He noticed the door slammed more loudly than it usually did.

When Sarah returned, Jack was at the kitchen table. Her sketchbook was open at a stunning pink design, and a large box was next to Jack. He looked up to find Sarah frowning.

“I wasn’t prying,” he said, glancing between Sarah’s expression and the sketchbook. “You left it lying on your dressing table. I had no idea that you’d done all these designs.”

Sarah swiped the book off the table, a mixture of embarrassment and annoyance tingling on her lips.

“Yeah, well – like I said earlier, just forget it, will you?”

“Too late,” said Jack, standing to meet her gaze. “I’ve booked you onto the fashion design evening course.”

Sarah’s mouth gaped. “You’ve what?”

“And you need one of these, according to the course details,” carried on Jack, tapping the box. “It’s a sewing machine. I nipped to the shops while you were out.”

“But…” Sarah stared in disbelief.

“These drawings are amazing, Sarah – you have a real talent. I’m sorry for not being supportive before.” Jack smiled.

You need to follow your dreams and see where they take you. And I promise, I’ll be with you every step of the way.

The next few months were some of the busiest and best of Sarah’s adult life. She’d been worried she would look ancient amongst the students – but it turned out there were people of all ages and backgrounds and Sarah had already made good friends.

Rushing from her secretarial job to the design studios at the local university, Sarah would pore over fashion books for inspiration, sketch colourful creations in her sketchbook, and construct draft toiles, before diving into a rainbow of fabrics and haberdashery, stitching together her final garments.

Within months she had a finished capsule collection, and days after that, it was time to present it to the world – or local community at least – on a catwalk.

As models of all shapes and sizes paraded Sarah’s elegant collection up and down the runway, her head spun. To think, those clothes had once just been colourful ideas shimmering in her head, and now here she was watching them come to life in front of fashion experts
and local journalists.

Standing beside her in the wings, Jack murmured in Sarah’s ear, “I’m so proud of you, you know.”

She squeezed his hand affectionately.

Thanks for cheering me on.

As the last model wearing a stunning pink dress beckoned Sarah to the catwalk to take her bow in front of a cheering crowd, Jack smiled.

“And thanks for showing me what can be achieved if you follow your dreams.”

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Allison Hay

I joined the "My Weekly" team thirteen years ago and, more recently, "The People's Friend". I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazines. I manage the digital content for the brands, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters.