the debutante

One of my earliest memories is of being carted back to Kmart in a borrowed Cadillac and being hoisted up on the counter so that I could confess to the manager that I shoplifted a Bonne Bell Lip Smacker, in cotton candy flavor.

il_570xN.369836626_gfd1Mum encourages me to wear a wonderful slip-lined tulle dress for the occasion. Light pink in color, with a matching drawstring purse. She giggles approvingly when I add the white cotton gloves to the ensemble. What fun we girls have!

I am not really sure what type of crime it is that I committed, nor what might happen to me after I forcefully confess to it. So when I wave goodbye to mum and sissy from the backseat of the Cadillac, I am not entirely sure I’ll be seeing them again.

“Goodbye, Mummy! Goodbye, Sissy! I’ll miss you!” I call out.

And they stand together, there in the front garden, looking just as beautiful as ever, loyally waving until we take a turn onto the main road and I’m out of sight.

“I want you to think about what you’ve done,” Mr. Fisher says now, from the front seat.

But I accidentally don’t. And this is not because I have bad manners. It is because of the plush interior of the Cadillac, and the way it captivates my attention in an all-consuming sort of way.

The heady, male scent of the leather.

The natural creases in the soft, frictionless seat.

The elegant silver switches on the armrest.

What are all of those switches, anyway?

I sneak a quick peek at Mr. Fisher in the rearview mirror, my fingertip poised irresistibly on the toggle nearest me.

is mr. fisher called mr. fisher because he looks like a fish?

And I put forward pressure on the switch and jump a bit as my window begins its smooth descent.

How delightful!

The other way for Up again.

And Down, ever so slightly.

And the silver toggle adjacent does the opposite window.

And now both of them, together.

“Enough!” Mr. Fisher pronounces, and I snap to and cross my ladylike hands in my lap.

But now my hair is being all blown around in my face, incoming wind from both sides, so I slip out of my seatbelt and lean way forward to tug lightly on the bottom of  Mr. Fisher’s waistcoat.

“Ach! Jesus!” He swipes at my hand. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Huffy man, this Mr. Fisher.

“Sir? May I please put the windows up?”

Mr. Fisher doesn’t respond, just makes some flustered noises and then, lo and behold, rolls up my windows from his own set of switches.

I strain my neck forward for a better look.

“Sit down!” he screams. “And put your seatbelt on!”

I do as I’m told because that is what proper young ladies do. But even I can tell that Mr. Fisher is overreacting. Goodness.

Now he’s muttering something from the front. I catch an, “If your father could see the three of you, I swear…”

The three of us hear this a lot.

“I’m sure he sees us,” I tell Mr. Fisher reassuringly.

Mr Fisher throws a quick look at me over his shoulder and shakes his head.

doesn’t mr. fisher pay attention in church?

“In heaven you can see everything,” I inform him.

I cinch open my purse and take out my Bonne Bell Lip Smacker. Well, not mine, exactly. I remove the pretty pink lid and hold the cylinder right up close to my nose. Inhale deeply.

it really smells like it would taste better

I slide the gloss several times around my lips, then smack.

In the distance, I can see the big, red Kmart sign.

I sit up straight. Poised. Graceful. I’ve never been more ready.

10 thoughts on “the debutante

  1. Could you help me with a Word Press technicality? I was wondering how to view people I’ve followed who are not following me back. I see every FAQ under the sun for checking followers and unfollowing them, but nothing about comparing it to who is following me.

      1. Thanks – it seems there is a general mentality at WPress that “it shouldn’t matter who follows you or doesn’t”, so whatevs. I also want to add that I loved this post and your descriptive writing. Something about the way the corporate KMart sign is tied in so sentimentally, transforming it.

      2. thank you for adding the compliment. but just so you know, we are good like that. this morning i wanted to compliment you, too, on “Spring has sprung, the grass has ris – I wonder where the flowers is?” but then i felt like i comment all the time and it might start to seem disingenuous. so instead i left you guessing about how i felt about that one. and then you came on over and were all, “can i borrow a wrench?” and started asking me technical questions and ignoring my post altogether. and i was like, “that’s right. that’s how the great dame and i roll.” and next time you post i plan to just comment about how i am considering letting my bangs grow out. ❤

      3. I really like how the ladies are rocking long bangs that go halfway down their nose. Other than that I tend to prefer the grown bangs.

        Xtina Aguliera was on the cover of Rolling Stone with JTimberlake wearing a black wig with long bangs. She looked so dirrty.

        Also – what happens when you “like” a post? Like, what is that in Word Press world?

  2. I was all set to comment on how much I like the piece (You put my 6 year old self right back into my grandparents’ car here) and then it turns out that I also thoroughly enjoyed the comment thread.

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