13: Mumm

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'The known unknown'

"I didn't think dress shopping was part of our itinerary," I whisper to mum as we walk past the first few rows of extravagant white dresses lined against the walls of the store.

"It wasn't," she admits. "But since we're here anyway...why not?" She adds with a shrug.

I try not to let it show, but I can sense there is just something off about this entire trip. From the moment we landed here yesterday, I can't shake this feeling that has settled in the pit of my stomach.

"Hi, my name is Sydney." A woman dressed in black with flowy blond hair approaches us with her introduction. "And you must be the bride to be," she acknowledges mum.

"Yes. Rachel," mum replies as they shake hands.

"And who have you brought with you today?" Sydney asks politely as she guides us to the front of the store past a dozen more dresses.

"This is my daughter, Olivia," mum motions toward me. I shake Sydney's hand with a small smile--which she returns--while my eyes take in the rest of the store.

The luxurious ambiance of the store combined with the dress code of all the staff members here screams high-end store. From the lighting to the fathomless rows of gorgeous dresses everything about this place is intimidating to a person not used to frequenting stores alike. Someone like me.

Yet in all of my unquestionable discomfort, I don't fail to notice how well mum manages to fit right in. From her manner to the way she communicates her aspiration for her dress to Sydney, she blends right in.

"So what kind of style do you have in mind, Rachel?" Sydney asks mum, while I just stand beside her staring aimlessly at the sea of white with the occasional blues and pinks making an appearance.

"I was thinking a simple classy fit and flare, with maybe a bit of beading and sweetheart neck?" Mum describes with a dreamy look in her eyes, a kind I've never seen before.

Sydney nods in understanding. "I think we can handle that," she affirms.

"And how about the color, are we thinking traditional white, or?" Sydney prompts, sending mum into momentarily thought.

"I think I'll stick with white for now," she replies after much deliberation. "But who knows," she adds as an afterthought.

"Okay," Sydney smiles. "And how about the material?" She inquires. "Are we thinking lace, Tuell, or maybe satin?" She lists out.

"I haven't quite settled on that aspect, but something with a beaded lace bodice maybe," mum replies. 

"Okay I can work with that," Sydney nods. "How about we hit the racks then?" She says--a rhetorical question--while guiding us towards another section of the store.

We spend the next hour sifting through dresses, but every dress we land on is either too flare, or to bling, or too flashy. And although I understand this is her big day and she has every right to be picky, at a time like this when we are forced to move out of our home into a safe house, doesn't seem like the right time to be doing this.

"No Sydney, I'm just not feeling this dress anymore," mum replies in dejection while staring at herself in the full-length mirror across her with me perched on the sofa behind her.

"What do you think, Liv?" Mum asks snapping me out of my daze.

"You look, beautiful mum," I reply, echoing the same answer I have been this entire trip.

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