Monday, December 10, 2012


            She just wanted to stop thinking. Over thinking—that was her problem, her life-long problem. What should she wear? What frock should she wear? Yes, her mother had insisted on calling the most ordinary dress a frock. Well, she wouldn’t be wearing a frock to Prissy's conference.
            Maybe that was the origin of her troubles, her anxieties, the word frock. Nobody in 1982 dressed their child in a frock. Except for Lois’s mother. So old country. So pretentious. So . . . so foreign.
            Well, here she was. 2012—thirty years later, and still embarrassed by her mother, the chignon at the nape of her neck, the heavy mascara, the red circles of rouge on both cheeks. What about blush, Mama?
Blush? Her mother didn’t listen, didn’t care, didn’t hear, didn’t think, so Lois had to do all the thinking for both of them. Oh, those damn frocks, smocked frocks in the sixth grade. The horror!

            She shook her head at the memory, forced herself to laugh, to pretend it didn’t matter, to concentrate on the problem at hand, what to wear to Prissy’s junior high conference. Prissy. Yes, her daughter hated that name, but it did fit her.
            Mom, Prissy whined, My name is Priscilla. I just want you to use my real name.
            You just want! Well, you don’t always get what you want, Lois had said and stuck a pencil in her balloon of hair.
            Your hair looks like a helmet, Prissy said.
            Lois heard the tone, not the words. Everybody knew teenagers needed something to complain about—and Prissy had almost nothing—she didn’t know how lucky she was to have a mother who didn't embarrass her every step of the way.

Well, back to the closet. What to wear to the parent conference? She pulled out the orange bellbottoms and held them up to her waist. Perfect! A good pair of pants never went out of style.

© 2012 Kathleen Coskran

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