No More Lonely Nights - Chapter Ten

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25 June 1962.

Liverpool, England.

ALLIE: I need a dress for the wedding, so Megan has offered to accompany me shopping at some of the nicer clothiers in Liverpool. Most sisters of the bride wouldn’t need to purchase a dress, as they would be a member of the wedding party and therefore supplied with one, but Marion made it extremely clear that she wanted her girlfriends from the university in the wedding party and not me. Well, fine, if that was what she wanted. Maybe she wouldn’t even be allowed at my wedding someday, assuming I got married. My dad gave me leave to draw one hundred pounds from the emergency funds he kept hidden in the bottom of his t-shirt drawer (he was still on the base ensuring he was caught up enough to be able to take off the days necessary to go to America) for the purchase, thankfully. I want to get something nice regardless of the fact that I don’t care two bits for my sister.

It is so weird to think that in just a couple weeks I will be setting foot back on American soil for the first time in over two years. That prospect doesn’t exactly thrill me, but at least I know it isn’t permanent and that I will be back in Liverpool in a matter of days. Of course, having Paul come with me is going to be a major help, even though I know my mother will in turn frost over and not speak to me the whole time. Oh well, that’s her loss.  I’m excited about Paul being able to come to America with me, since he’s never set foot out of Europe before. If we can avoid my mother, we’ll probably have a good time.

“So you’ve been with Paul since your sixteenth birthday?” Megan asked. We were at Harold’s, one of the most posh clothing stores for men and women in Liverpool, perusing the new arrivals in the summer dresses department. “When is your birthday?”

“February 28,” I replied, pulling out a cream-colored dress for examination. Megan and I both looked at it and shook our heads, and I put it back on the rack. “What happened was I was at the Cavern with some now ex-school friends and I was telling one of them how stupid it was that they all were fixing up so much in an attempt to win over the band and that it would be much better to just be ourselves. Paul overheard me say that as he was walking past to go to the stage, and he came up to me after the set, and the rest is history.”

“Wow! That’s pretty much fate for you right there. He just happens to hear you, finds you afterwards, and you two end up being perfect for each other.” Megan held up a soft blue dress that fell gracefully mid-calf. “This one is pretty.”

“I do like that,” I replied, checking the tag. Fifty pounds. Ok, in my price range. I draped it over my arm along with a rose-colored one and a cool mint green ensemble. “Let’s find maybe two more and then I will go try these on.”

Megan nodded and returned her attention to the rack. The store was so calm and pleasant, soft classical music playing in the background, salesclerks flitting back and forth from the counters to the dressing rooms to the clothing racks. I could get used to a life where I shopped in places like this every day.

The calm was disrupted a moment later by a shrill woman’s voice arguing with that of a girl who must be her daughter. “I don’t care if you don’t want to wear a dress, Violet, you’ll wear one and that’s the end of it! This is a very fancy affair, and I’ll have none of you showing up in clothes fit for a lad!”

I turned in the direction of the outburst to see a middle-aged woman and a teenage girl entering the shop. The woman had a look on her face as if she wanted to kill someone, while the girl was standing there looking bored to death. She had long blonde hair (the “dirty” blonde look, I observed) pulled back away from her face in a rubber band. Unlike every other female in the shop, she was casually attired in denim jeans, a plain red shirt, and saddle oxfords. She looked acutely bored and eager to leave the shop.

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