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Kid’s Choice

Submitted by Jordan-Alicia Machado on February 9, 2011 – 5:18 pmComments

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Kid's Choice

Oh, sod it, I think, as I remove the thirteenth dress from its hanger in one swift motion.  I’ve saved the best for last, but by now my confidence is minimal, and I really just want to get the hell out of here.  I pull the delicate fabric over my head, and I am immediately aware that this garment must be at least two sizes too big.  Damn. I study my reflection in the mirror, and sigh.  It doesn’t hang on me as gracefully as it did on the mannequin, and what I’d thought was a gorgeous shade of blue just looked downright gaudy against my pasty winter skin.

Thirteen dresses and thirteen hangers, and I’ve lost all ability to be ginger.  I hastily rip the dress from my shoulders, and let it fall to the top of the huge heap in the corner of the dressing room.  I close my eyes, and breathe in deeply.  For a moment, I let myself lean back against the cool wood panels of the dressing room wall.

You can do this, J. Come to think of it, isn’t this what I’d always wanted?  For two years, I’d slaved away performing a countless array of thankless tasks for a boss I’ve always dreaded.  And now, finally, after so long, my determination was paying off, and I’d landed my dream job.

Only thing was, at the moment, I couldn’t quite recall what that dream even was.  I am dizzy, and as I reach up slowly to brace myself, it occurs to me that I’m dripping sweat.  That’s odd, I think, since I’ve spent the last hour utterly shivering beneath the blasting air draft.  I blink heavily at the massive mound of failure I’ve constructed.  Thirteen dresses, and not a single one is right.

My body begins the mechanical process of retrieving my own clothes from the wreckage.  I zone out completely, letting my fine motor skills operate independently from the rest of me.  One button, two button, three.  Pants up.  Left boot, right.

I open the dressing room door, and peer down the long mirror-clad corridor, desperate for escape.  I take one solemn look back at the unfit garments, and clasp the door shut behind me, bee-lining it for the exit.

I wish I could say I wasn’t always so finicky.  But then, I’d be lying.  And the thing about being honest is you’re supposed to tell the truth.

As a child, I remember sitting atop the vast colorful ‘Circle Time’ rug, listening to a professional chef who had carved a generous helping of time out of his schedule to grace my Kindergarten class with his expertise.  When he posed the question to the class, “What is your favorite food?” I eagerly raised my hand to share that my favorite foods included a careful array of apple juice, Lobster Francese, and Filet Mignon.  Oh, and my mother’s Eggs Benedict.  Sublime!

In my five-year-old brain, these were perfectly modest answers.  I remember beaming proudly as the chef designated me his assistant for demonstration that day.  However, at home that night, I lay sprawled in my bed, images of Rainbow Brite dotting my bedding.  I am deeply troubled, and unable to sleep.  You see, to most, “What is your favorite food?” would rovoke a simple, intrinsic response.  Everyone has a favorite food, right?  So, why was I so utterly plagued with indecision?

And so emerged a lifetime inability (handicap) when it came to choice.   It seemed to me that life was just a confusing maze of options, and with only one pair of legs with which to travel, choosing was more a necessity than a privilege.  But even as a mousy toddler, it was clear to me that any multitude of alternatives was better than only one, or none at all.

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