WHAT TO WEAR?
To read this story from the beginning, please go HERE
This is a work of fiction based on a true story....
My mom went with me to a local discount store; she has much better taste than I do. I'd grabbed about a million dresses, and after trying on several sets, I felt kind of hopeless.
"That could work," my mom would say. Or she'd pull up my dress so you couldn't see my cleavage. "Ummm…ba-boomba! Next, please!"
We'd looked for hours and the only thing I found was a pair of shoes and some cute black panties. "If you want to feel confident, wear nice underwear," a friend of mine always says. "Nobody else needs to see them, but just having a secret like that—knowing what sexy thing you're wearing under your other clothes—that'll make you feel like a million bucks." I smiled, remembering her words, and paid for the panties (and shoes) before my mom could even see everything I'd bought.
"You just bought the shoes?"
I dodged the question. "I got the shoes. But will we find a cute dress?"
"Don't worry," my mom said. "You'll find the perfect outfit." Then as we got outside to our cars, she studied my demeanor. "Are you okay? Oh, no…. You haven't been talking to The Schmuck again? Have you?"
"No!" I shook my head emphatically. "I am friends with a guy who knows The Schmuck though. He's a good friend of mine, but I don't like how I keep hearing about The Schmuck from him."
"And? What have you heard?"
"He's smoothing things over with his wife, lying like crazy. I feel bad for her and their daughters."
"What a creep." A little bit of my mom's Italian fiery side came out. "Did you file the stalking violation, or whatever it's called?"
"No. I figured reporting what happened is enough. I can't do much anyway unless they threaten me in writing."
My mom sighed heavily. "I hope they won't show up again, but just in case, I want you to think about something."
"Would you ever answer the door to Satan?" she asked.
"What the…? What does that have to do with anything?"
"Just answer the question! Would you answer the door to Satan?"
"Remember that if The Schmuck, or even his wife, come to your house again. Don't answer your door, just call the police."
I drove home alone shortly after that. So many thoughts swirled in my head. Would The Schmuck's wife come over again? Would she try hurting me out of anger and possibly jealousy like The Schmuck had insinuated months before? I remembered my mom's words and suddenly nothing seemed more important in the world than deleting The Schmuck's number. Sure, he wouldn't be blocked in my phone anymore, but at least his name would no longer be in my contact list.
I highlighted his name, then tapped "delete" on the screen. It felt so good—the last tie had been cut. Months before I'd thrown away every gift he'd ever given to me; I'd even returned a few and left a card with the money at his brother's house. Now everything was finished forever…or so I thought.
My ex-husband had the kids that evening and for some reason the quietness of the house overcame me. I rested in bed, just staring at the ceiling, motionless. For a moment I thought about staying locked in my room forever…. Doing nothing, that was a good plan—then I couldn't make any mistakes.
That's when my mom called—when I'd finally been busy making good choices! "Hello?"
"Gina, I'm worried about you? Why are you so sad anyway?"
Why was I so sad?! Well, I hadn't even been legally divorced for six months—for starters. I sniffled. "Maybe it sounds stupid, but…I'm scared."
"Scared, but there's nothing wrong, honey. You're okay. You have so much to be thankful for."
"I know. I know." Then I started involuntarily sobbing.
"Oh, Gina. I hate knowing you're so sad."
"It's just divorce. It's a lot harder than I ever imagined. And now that it's legal, it hurts like when we first just got separated. I miss the kids and when they're here, sometimes I get down on myself, thinking I should be smarter for them, stronger, better, cook healthier, clean more. But it's all on me! I'm the only freakin' adult here. If anything goes wrong, it's all on me—the responsibility, the upkeep, the discipline."
"I can't imagine what it's like. I didn't realize. I'm so sorry. And to top it off, you were going through this and then you started dating a guy who was really living with his wife the whole time."
I was ready to have an out-and-out pity party. "Men suck! Part of me has died and no one even came to the funeral!"
There was a pause on the other end of the line. Then my mom suddenly burst with laughter, giggling on AND ON! "I love you so much," she finally said. "Even when you're sad, you're hilarious. Chin up. Things will get better. And who knows, maybe things will be different with this new guy. You've been talking about him for months. Isn't he your one in five hundred?"
"Yeah, but, Mom, my track record sucks! What if he ends up being a jerk too?"
"Just take it slow. Learn from past situations. It'll be okay…. Did you figure out what you're wearing yet?"
I slowly stood up and opened my closet door. A lacy green summer dress hung next to the wedding dress I'd worn over a decade prior. My fingers fell across the white fabric, then I pushed the wedding dress back so I couldn't see it and pulled out the green number.
"Do you remember that green lace dress I bought last year?"
"That would be perfect! It's the knee-length one, right? With the lace-up back?" she asked.
"That's the one. It even matches my new shoes." And maybe even my new panties.
"You'll look beautiful. Just take your time, sweetheart. And for Pete's sake—don't get intimate with him!"
"Mom." I turned completely red. "I'm not planning on it."
"Sex just messes everything up. It's hard to think straight if you're having sex with someone. And it'd just make you more attached to each other than you should be before you're married."
Oh, my gosh! Were we seriously having this conversation? "Mom, I'm over thirty."
"And I'm still your mother…." I sighed into the phone. "Well, anyway, I'm glad you found an outfit to wear."
I could tell she was just about to hang up the phone when I blurted, "Hey, Mom?"
"Yeah?" she said.
"Thanks for caring about me. You know how I said I died and no one came to the funeral?" I breathed deeply. "Well, you came to it. You're always there for me."
"I love you, honey…. You know what, you're gonna have a great time at the symphony. From what you've told me, I have a good feeling about this guy."
"Is that why you told me we might be great together, if we tried being more than friends?" I asked; she'd been urging me to date him—for months.
After we hung up, I smoothed my green dress onto the bed.
"I hope I'll look beautiful for Mark," I whispered to myself. "He's been so wonderful, for as long as I've known him. I really want him to think I'm something special too."
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