Chapter: 5

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My mom and I go from store to store trying on stacks of dresses for the party tomorrow. We left before I could change my mind and we haven't stopped for three hours. After some complaining and convincing we are finally stopping for lunch. I drag my mom from a nearby boutique to a cafe across the street. The bell chimes acknowledging our arrival. "Hello, how may I help you?" A bubbly voice chirps from behind the counter. "Hi, we'd like to get one venti white chocolate mocha, one grande iced latte, and two Cesar salads." The short barista punched in some buttons, "Your total is $8.27." My mom grudgingly pulls out a ten dollar bill and hands it to the girl.

We sit down at a table while we wait for our drinks and food. "We have a couple more stores before we have to make a decision." My mom says stuffing her wallet back into her purse a little too aggressively. I nod my head absent minded. I'm watching the barista make our coffee. She has her bubble gum pink hair cropped to her chin in a bob. She has contrasting orange and red eyeshadow along with some bold lashes. 

"Earth to Aphy?" My mom waves her hand in front of my face. "What, sorry I wasn't listening." "I know, I'm constantly talking to myself. Anyways, I was saying that we also need to pick up the tablecloths, suits for your brother and dad, and you need to start practicing a song. Have you even chosen a song yet?" "Actually I have, I decided on performing Clair De Lune," I say, picking my nail. "Ok that's perfect, also don't forget you have a nail appointment today at three and a hair appointment tomorrow at six. Do not be late." She says with a warning look. I hold my hands up as our barista hands us our coffee and food.

I immediately gulp down half of my mocha. "You must really love coffee." She says with a warm smile. "I do, it's one of the things I would kill for." She laughs as she walks away. We chat about school and how I'm doing in my classes. I get slightly uncomfortable when she asks about my trigonometry test knowing I cheated. I shake off the guilty feeling that starts creeping up my neck.

"Liam sure has grown up," My mom says casually. I see right through her act. "Oh my god, no! That's Jeremy's best friend. He'd kill me if I ever even looked at Liam." "I didn't' say anything, I just commented on how grown up he is." I stick my tongue out at her. "How old are you, five?" My mom says standing up to throw her tray away grabbing mine as I shovel in the last few bites of salad.

With only a few snarky comments we walked into the boutique mom was looking at earlier and tried on a bunch of dresses. The six dresses I tried on were super billowy and fit me nicely, however, they were interesting shades of orange and green that made me look sick.

We moved on to another store and my mom would find dresses she loved but I didn't think were flattering. We did this for another two stores before we finally arrived at a small store called Dream Wear. When we walked in there were only a few racks of dresses but they were all beautiful. As the store owner approached us the wonderful scent of vanilla and pumpkin hit us.

"Welcome, can I help you at all?" The old lady asked us politely. I was about to decline the offer but my mom instead begged for help. "We've been looking for at least six hours and she can't decide on anything." The silver haired lady turned towards me, "A picky shopper are we?" She said with a smile that showed off her laugh wrinkles making her seem even kinder. "I don't try to be picky, but nothing makes me feel... what's the word." "Elegant, sophisticated, refined, but still breathtaking." I stumble to answer, a little taken aback by her ability to know exactly what I wanted. "Um... ya, that's exactly right."


We followed Linda, the store owner, to the last rack and she glides through the dresses every once in a while stopping to get a better look at a dress. If she thought it would work she'd hum in excitement. She gathered a collection of four dresses, each in a different style and different color.

I was pushed into a small changing room to try on the dresses. I decided to start with the simplest dress, which was a spaghetti strap black dress. I took my blue tank top off and shimmied out of my black shorts. I walked out for my mom to see and she immediately turned me back to the dressing room. "Too plain." She stated. "I'm the picky one," I grumble taking the black dress off. I hear Linda chuckle which makes me smile.

Next was the lilac colored dress. It had cap sleeves and fell to just above my knees. It reminded me of the dresses I wore at different charity events when I was little. When I walked out I got a thumbs down from my mom.

I then tried on the baby blue dress. It was off the shoulder and snug at my waist, tulle, and lace billowing out behind me. I waltzed out to my mother and Linda and got a round of applause. I did a twirl and a few poses for them to get the full effect of the dress. "This is the one." I decided while admiring myself in the tall mirrors.

After I change back into my clothes Linda wraps the dress up in some paper and buts it in a box with a white bow. We head to my mom's next destination, the dry cleaners. Before we left we had decided to walk everywhere after taking the bus to downtown. My mom said she needed to get her steps in and I've never mind walking.

As we headed down the crowded street I saw a store full of antique books and other trinkets. I stop, in awe of the store. My mom had to turn around and walk back to me since I gave her no warning of my abrupt stop. "I think I might spend the rest of my life here." I breathe in sharply. "That's fine just don't be late for your nail appointment." She yells, already walking away. After shaking off the initial shock I walk into the store.

Once I'm in I let out a gasp, a new wave of awe rooting me to the spot. There were shelves upon shelves of glorious books. The whole building smelt of books and dust, which was surprisingly a comforting smell. I wander down each row running my hands over the spines of the books. I would stop every once in a while to look at a particular book. I found an old battered copy of Moby Dick. I opened the book to find pages filled with Melville's words. The pages smelt like pine needles and acorns. A very earthy scent but still distinctly a book smell. I purchased it at the front and the cashier complimented my choice.

I sat at a nearby table to start reading. I already couldn't wait to fill my thoughts with a new story. "Call me Ishmael," was how the book began. I devoured each page with intense focus. I wanted to read Mellville's imagination, that's what books are after all. A collection of thoughts and dreams the authors have. A book is the closest you'll get to seeing in someone's head.

I finished the book a little too quickly. I'm left craving more words. I realize I've been sitting for quite a while, so I check the time, and to my horror, I have ten minutes to get to my appointment. I grab my book and fly out the door running to the salon, cursing our decision to not bring a car.

I get inside the salon five minutes late and my mom is sitting in a pedicure chair reading a women's health magazine. "You're late." She says without looking up. "I'm here aren't I," I say lifting my arms up and dropping them back down. She raises an eyebrow at me still not taking her eyes off the magazine.

I roll my pants up and climb into the chair next to her. The lady working on my nails tells me to put my feet in the water which is slightly cold due to my tardiness. I watch the TV in the corner which has a rerun of a 90's tv show playing. My toes got clipped, filed, and painted light pink. I'm ushered to a chair for my manicure.

I chat with my nail tech, Gloria, while my mom continues to flip through the magazine's glossy pages. "Your mom told me you're going to learn abroad, that seems like quite an adventure," Gloria says while buffing my nails. "Ya, I'm going to Paris for a performing arts school." "What do you do?" She says dusting the dust off my nails. "Um, mainly ballet and piano, but I also sing and I play the guitar a little." Gloria spends the rest of the time asking me questions about if I'm excited or nervous and if I'll miss anyone.

At the end of the appointment, my nails are now pink. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get acrylics but I can't play the piano with long nails. My mom falls asleep on my shoulder during the bus ride home. I watch the tall buildings pass by soon turning into apartment complexes, and then houses as we get into the suburbs.

I have to shake her awake and we walk home, completely exhausted from our shopping trip. We burst into the house and barely made it to our beds before falling asleep. I was one day closer to Paris, and one day closer to my dreams.

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